Look inside city’s largest liquor store as opening nears

Nov. 14, 2019

With WilLiquors, which opens Tuesday, the numbers tell the story.

Twenty-six thousand square feet.

About 4,000 varieties of wine — 80 feet of Cabernet alone.

Seventy-two feet of vodkas.

More than 900 beer selections.

It all adds up to pretty much the same reaction from anyone who walks in, store managers said.

“They walk in and stop and go, ‘Whoa.’ Most people knew it would be nice, and they look at it from the outside and it looks big, but once you get inside and get a feel for it, it’s pretty crazy,” said Tracy Lambert, wine and spirit manager.

“You walk down the aisles and it’s never-ending options.”

The business, which started in Bismarck, N.D., in 2014 has taken lessons from that flagship store and applied them in the Sioux Falls location, which is near the northwest corner of 69th Street and Louise Avenue.

“We know we’re going to be a destination shop, but when you come in to shop, we’re hoping you’ll be overwhelmed by the courtesy and educated staff and the sheer presence of a beautiful floor, said general manager Fred Ibach, who moved from Bismarck where he helped open the store there.

The store is believed to be the largest of its kind between Chicago and Denver, he added.

“We’ve done the research, and as far as a floor plan, nobody has that floor plan anywhere.”

When you walk in, “the center will be massive display space with some pretty big, impactful things and a lot of little extras in all the displays,” Lambert said. “It’s not just cases and bottles. There’s barrels, toppers, statues, something to make the display pop more than just the product.”

The entire right side of the store is wine, with custom shelving to display the product.

“The bottom three shelves are lay-downs, so any of your higher end wines will be stored and aging properly,” Lambert said. “They’re not getting a ton of light exposure, so the quality will hold up.”

A wine-tasting area will offer something to try daily with luxury wines Friday nights and a more expansive everyday wine tasting Saturday.

The beer section includes 20 beers on tap at the growler station. A “mix a six” offer allows customers to build their own six pack.

“It’s going to be in the neighborhood of 300 different things, which will probably cover most everything we have out there,” Lambert said. “All the coolers are able to be filled from behind, so anytime we’re filing product we don’t have to get in the customer’s space. It’s all done behind the scenes.”

On the liquor side, “We’re carrying almost everything available from any distributor in the state, whether it’s a local distillery or something going through one of the bigger distributors,” he said.

The store also added a casino in the back that will have a beer and wine license, allowing the business to offer a glass while people shop too.

There’s also an accessories section and a walk-in humidor for cigars.

WilLiquors expects to draw shoppers from as far as the Missouri River and surrounding states, Ibach said.

“We know it’s a prime location,” he said. “We’re very pleased with it.”

Hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday during football season, which later will scale back to 6 p.m.

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Look inside city’s largest liquor store as opening nears

“They walk in and stop and go, ‘Whoa.’” Look inside the new liquor superstore WilLiquors and you’ll likely have a similar reaction.

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