OPENING A LIQUOR STORE IN BROOKLYN NEW YORK

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Comments Regarding Plan
Cash Sales: Projected gross sales are based on the average of the monthly sales of small liquor store.
 Other Income: This income is provided through the sales of services and products unrelated to alcohol such as cigarettes and related supplies.
Cost of Goods Sold: This figure is based on 35% of revenues which is the industry corporate standard.
Payroll: This is based on one full-time owner, one full-time manager, and six part and full-time liquor store cashiers according to the projected labor schedule.

Getting Started

CHOOSE WHICH COSTS APPLY TO YOUR BUSINESS
DOWNLOAD - TO EXCEL FILE

Startup Costs and Fixed Monthly Expenses
Do research to obtain these amounts.
Consult with Attorney, CPA, Insurance Broker, Suppliers, and

New York State Liquor Store Association


Basics on How to Do Liquor Inventory

Consult with your CPA who should have experience with liquor stores.

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Location is critical to attract the traffic and customer profile required to generate planned sales volumes.

The capital needed to buy an existing liquor store can vary greatly.


How Much Start-Up Inventory Is Recommended for a Small Liquor Store?


Specialty shops face a lower turnover rate than larger stores,
By using a business plan, start-up liquor stores can make smart inventory purchases based on their plan's market research, mission, sales goals and budget.
Stores that sell alcohol face start-up costs to get and retain a license, so inventory costs should be kept as closely in line with the budget as possible. At the same time, it's important to offer customers a competitive product selection to drive sales.
State liquor licenses often require owners to keep in-stock inventory within a certain range or product type, and that owners purchase the alcohol only from a licensed wholesaler.

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Marketing strategy will focus on:
  1. Developing a reputation for great selection, an appealing store environment, competitive prices, and excellent customer service. This should engender strong word-of-mouth advertising--our most potent form of advertising.
  2. Developing strong relationships with your suppliers to help insure best discount deals and best supplier services obtainable.
  3. Keeping the staff focused, satisfied and important in their roles--to help keep our productivity and customer service at the highest obtainable levels.
  4. Maintaining an awareness of your store through regular advertising to your target community. This may be in any combination of media--newspaper, direct mail, in-store ads and brochures, online ads, radio, and/or television.
  5. Reaching out to potential wholesale clients--businesses and community organizations.

How to Promote Your Liquor Store to Market to Generation X





The 3 Lessons I Learned After Accidentally Buying a Liquor...

 Lesson 1. The liquor business is highly complex.
Lesson 2. Distributors hold all the power.
Lesson 3. Owning and operating a small liquor store can provide a comfortable income and job security but it’s no cash cow.

How to Open a Liquor Store - Startup Business


Important Considerations

The capital needed to start a liquor store is largely dependent upon a number of factors including whether it will be started from scratch under a new name, whether buying into a franchise or setting up a grocery store that contains

Money Needed

The capital needed to buy an existing liquor store can vary greatly.. Buying an existing liquor store may save some money in the way of inventory and supplies. Conversely, starting a new liquor store can be equally, if not more, costly because of licensing fees, leasing a building and inventory costs.
After filing an application for a liquor license, the license fee must be paid. This fee may vary according to municipality and based on the type of license.

Store Leasing

Leasing a building for a liquor store may also depend on municipal and state regulations. Leasing fees are often based on amount per square foot and can cost as much as six-figures. Liquor store, in Great Neck, New York leases for $30 per square foot. However, at only 900 square feet, the total leasing price is $27,000.

Inventory

The capital needed for inventory will vary depending upon alcohol brands and the size of stock. High-end wine such as "Albino Rocca Barbaresco" can cost a little more then $700 for a case. Overall, the cost for cases of wine, beer and even non-alcoholic beverages can run into the six-figure range, particularly for larger liquor stores.
Marketing strategy will focus on:
  1. Developing a reputation for great selection, an appealing store environment, competitive prices, and excellent customer service. This should engender strong word-of-mouth advertising--our most potent form of advertising.
  2. Developing strong relationships with your suppliers to help insure best discount deals and best supplier services obtainable.
  3. Keeping the staff focused, satisfied and important in their roles--to help keep our productivity and customer service at the highest obtainable levels.
  4. Maintaining an awareness of your store through regular advertising to your target community. This may be in any combination of media--newspaper, direct mail, in-store ads and brochures, online ads, radio, and/or television.
  5. Reaching out to potential wholesale clients--businesses and community organizations.

How to Promote Your Liquor Store to Market to Generation X



READ MORE FOR Q & A REGARDING LICENSING




What are the minimum requirements for eligibility to hold a license?
In the case of an individual or a partnership, each person must be 21 years of age or older and be: a citizen of the United States; a permanent resident alien; or a citizen of a country with a treaty allowing persons to obtain a visa to enter the United States to engage in trade.

In the case of a limited liability company or a corporation, the managing member of the limited liability company or the officers and directors of the corporation must each be 21 years of age or older and be: a citizen of the United States; a permanent resident alien; or a citizen of a country with a treaty allowing persons to obtain a visa to enter the United States to engage in trade.
In addition, a person is not eligible to hold a license if he/she is:
(a) A convicted felon (unless he/she has a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities, has received a pardon, or has been issued a Certificate of Good Conduct). This includes a felony conviction in NYS and a conviction in another state or federal jurisdiction if the crime would be a felony in NYS.
(b) a police officer.
(c) a person whose license to sell alcoholic beverages was revoked within the last two years.

How can I get an application for an ABC license or permit, and where do I file my application when completed? Some applications can be downloaded via this web site (Forms Download) or you may contact us at (518) 474-3114 to request an application by email.

Do I need to consult a professional to help me complete the application? The retail application has been simplified and is accompanied by detailed instructions to assist the applicant. However, applicants are always free to obtain professional consultation.

What are the permitted hours of operation for any given licensee? The hours of operation are set by state law but many counties outside of New York City have adopted more restricted hours. A listing of each county and the permitted hours of sale for each type of license is available on this web site. (County Closing Hours Provisions and Chart).

What is the Notification to the Clerk/Community Board? All on-premises license applicants must notify the community board or municipality of their intent to file an application. This must be done thirty days before the application is filed with the SLA. There is a standardized form that must be submitted to the community board or municipality provided in the application.

What is the Notification of Publication? All on-premises license applicants must publish a notice in a newspaper designated by the County Clerk, once a week for two successive weeks. The on-premises application, which is available on this web site, contains more information regarding this requirement.

When filing my application, am I required to submit the entire fee? Yes. The total licensing fee (the annual fee multiplied by the length of the license) along with the filing fee must be submitted. Failure to submit the entire fee can result in denial of the application.

Can I qualify for a temporary permit while I wait for my permanent license application to be processed? You may be eligible for a temporary permit depending on where your establishment is located, the type of license and whether you are buying an existing establishment or starting a new business.
If the business is located in New York City, you are eligible for a temporary permit if you are buying the business from the current licensee and the business has been open and operating within 30 days of the date you filed the application for the permit.

If the business is located outside of New York City, you are eligible for a temporary permit if: (a) you are buying the business from the current licensee and the business has been open and operating within 30 days of the date you filed the application for the permit; or (b) you are starting a new business and it is not a package store, wine store, or subject to the 500 Foot Law.

The permit application and fee may be filed with the Retail License Application or after the license application has been filed. You may not file the permit application before you apply for the license. You should contact the Authority to find out if there are any disqualifications against the location prior to filing. Once the application for the Temporary Retail Permit is filed, the Authority will review the licensing history of the location and all principals as well as fingerprint results for each principal and determine if a temporary application can be approved.
Please note that the fee for the Temporary Retail Permit is NON REFUNDABLE.

Are there any restrictions on the location of my premises? Applicants for a liquor store license, wine store license and on-premises liquor license cannot be on the same street and within 200 feet of a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship. Additional information about the “200’ Foot Law” is available on this web site.

Applicants for an on-premises liquor license may not be able to obtain a license if their establishment is within 500 feet of three or more existing establishments. Additional information about the “500’ Foot Law” is available on this web site.




If I currently hold a license, can I qualify for a permit to serve alcoholic beverages at an event located off my licensed premises? You may apply for a Catering Permit. This permit authorizes an on-premises licensee (other license categories do not apply) who is serving food and beverages at an event located off the licensed premises to sell and/or serve alcoholic beverages allowed by their license at the event. The fee for the permits is $48 per bar/day. Please refer to the Special Event Permit Application and Instructions (Link to Online Permit Applications Page).

Note: The Catering Permit is also available to a Club licensee with some additional restrictions.

If I do not have a license, can Serve alcoholic beverages at a function or event?  You have two options that will allow alcoholic beverages to be served at your function or event:
(a) You can apply for a Temporary Beer & Wine Permit (also referred to as a “TPA”); however, you cannot serve liquor under this permit. The fee for a TPA is $36 per bar/day.
(b) You can hire a licensed caterer to provide the food and alcoholic beverages at the event.

When I receive a Temporary Beer & Wine Permit, where am I allowed to purchase the beer and wine? Beer and wine must be purchased from a licensed brewer, winery, or wholesaler. Purchasing the beer from a grocery store and the wine from a liquor store is prohibited.

If I am a club licensee, when can I serve alcoholic beverages to a person other than members and their accompanying guests? A club licensee can only sell or serve alcoholic beverages to the general public if it has obtained a Caterer's Permit for a particular function, occasion or event. There are restrictions on the ability of a club licensee to obtain a caterer’s permit. A club that intends to regularly cater functions at its licensed premises should obtain a standard on-premises license.

Is a permit required to transport alcoholic beverages through New York State? Alcoholic beverages being picked up or delivered in this state must be shipped by a company with a trucking permit. Trucking permits are available to cover an individual vehicle or an entire fleet of vehicles.
If a licensee is delivering alcoholic beverages, it may do so in a vehicle that is owned/hired and operated by the licensee. A copy of the license must be kept in the cab of the vehicle.

Can Alcoholic Beverages be sold at an Auction? There are two ways that alcoholic beverages can be auctioned.
(a) If you are a bona-fide charitable, religious, educational, or civic group, you can auction donated alcohol for fundraising purposes. You must apply for a Charitable Permit to auction no more than 80 cases of wine, in sealed containers.
(b) A package store licensee (who has held the license for at least ten years) can obtain a permit to sell wine and liquor at auction. The alcoholic beverages must have come from a non-licensee’s private collection and must be clearly identified as coming from a private collection.




What basic requirements are necessary to be a wholesaler in New York State? At a minimum, the business must have an office in New York State with an employee present during regular business hours. The licensed premises does not need to have a storage area for alcoholic beverages but, if alcoholic beverages are stored at another location in this state, that location must have a warehouse permit. The business will also need the appropriate federal wholesale permit. If the licensee wishes to import alcoholic beverages from another country, a federal Importer's Permit will also be required.

How much does a wholesale license cost? The cost of the license depends on the type of alcoholic beverage that is being sold. There are four types of licenses available: liquor, wine, beer and cider. A liquor wholesale license includes the ability to sell wine at wholesale. A beer wholesaler may also obtain a license to sell cider at wholesale from the same location. The fee schedule for wholesale licenses is available on this web site.

What is Brand Label Registration? No alcoholic beverage can be offered for sale in this state unless the product’s brand label has been registered with and approved by the SLA. A wine brand label that has federal approval is deemed approved by the SLA. All other brand labels must be submitted for approval to the SLA. More detailed information about brand label approval is available on this web site.

Why must I file price schedules for liquor or wine? To avoid discrimination among retailers and prevent illegal trade practices, liquor and wine can only be sold at the prices stated in the schedules filed with the SLA. There are two schedules; one containing the prices paid by wholesalers; and another with the prices paid by retailers. Price schedules are filed on a monthly basis and are available for review on this web site.

What is a "C" license? A "C" License is a wholesale beer license with the privilege to sell at retail to the consumer. (This type of license has not been issued since 1960 – a person interested in obtaining such a license must purchase a business that already has the license.)

What is the difference between a "commercial", "micro" and "farm" manufacturing license? Generally speaking, manufacturing licenses are grouped into three categories” “commercial” manufacturers, “micro” manufacturers and “farm” manufacturers. The “commercial” manufacturers (breweries, distilleries and wineries) have no cap on the amount of alcoholic beverages that they can produce and there are no restrictions on the ingredients used to make their alcoholic beverages. Micro-distillers and micro-brewers have no restrictions on the ingredients they use, but have a cap on the amount of alcoholic beverages that they can produce each year. The “farm” manufacturers (farm breweries, farm distilleries and farm wineries) also have a cap on the amount of alcoholic beverages they can produce each year. They also are required to use a specified amount of ingredients grown or produced in this state in the manufacture of their alcoholic beverages.




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How old must a person be to serve alcoholic beverages as a bartender or a waitress/waiter, etc.?A bartender, waitress/waiter, or any other employee who is selling, taking orders for, dispensing of handling alcoholic beverages must be at least 18 years of age Employees such as busboys, dishwashers and others who handle containers that held alcoholic beverages can be under the age of 18 but must be under the direct supervision of someone is at least 21 years old.

How old must a person be to work in a grocery store or convenience store that sells beer? The general rule is that an employee who sells or handles alcoholic beverages must be at least 18 years of age. However, off-premises beer licensees may employ a person under 18 as a cashier for beer sales as long as that person is in the presence of and under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or over. Off-premises beer licensees may also employ persons under the age of 18 to stock and handle deliveries of beer, as well as handle beer containers being returned for redemption.

What must I do to conduct a teen night in my premises? At least 10 days prior to the event, you must notify the SLA, in writing, advising us of the exact date. You cannot sell or serve any alcoholic beverages during such events.

What is acceptable proof of age to purchase alcohol in New York State? The following documents can be accepted as proof of age for the purchase of alcoholic beverages: (a) A valid driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by: New York State; the Federal Government; any State Government within the United States; the District of Columbia; any Commonwealth, Possession or Territory of the United States; or a Provincial Government of Canada; (b) a valid U.S. passport; (c) a valid passport of any other country; or (d) a valid military ID from the U.S.
College identifications, employee identification cards or any other form of identification not listed above cannot be accepted as the primary proof of age, but can be used as a secondary means to verify the identity of the person.

Can a restaurant deliver beer with a food order? Yes, provided that order is received at the licensed premises in person, by telephone (or by fax) or via the internet. The sale or delivery of wine or liquor for off-premises consumption by an on-premises licensee is not allowed.

If I have a felony conviction, can I work in a licensed premises? A convicted felon cannot be employed by a licensed manufacturer or wholesaler. A convicted felon can work for a business with a retail off-premises license (such as a grocery store or package store), or at a hotel, restaurant, club or recreational facility with an on-premises license. A convicted felon cannot work at other establishments with an on-premises license.

There are two exceptions to this restriction. If the convicted felon has received an executive pardon, a certificate of good conduct or other relief from disabilities provided by law, he/she may work for any licensee. A licensee may also apply for the written approval of the State Liquor Authority to permit the employment of a particular person with a felony conviction.

Can a liquor store or grocery store take returns of unwanted purchases? Off-premises licensees, such as liquor stores and grocery stores, may, at their discretion, exchange unopened returns from their customers.

Does an off-premises beer licensee have to take back empty bottle/can returns if they were not purchased from that licensee? Yes, state law requires the licensee to accept for redemption any empty beverage container of a product sold by the licensee, regardless of whether or not the specific container was originally sold by the licensee.

What can I do about a noisy or rowdy bar? For immediate assistance, contact your local police department, sheriff’s office or the State Police. You can also file a complaint with the SLA by telephone, written complaint, e-mail, or personal visit to nearest SLA Zone Office (Albany, Buffalo, New York). You should make a written record of date, time and nature of disorder documenting specific problems with the licensed premises.

Can a customer bring in his or her own liquor/wine/beer into a licensed restaurant or bar?  Yes, with the approval of the licensee and as long as the alcoholic beverage is covered under the establishment’s license. For example, a customer cannot bring liquor into a restaurant that is only licensed for wine and beer. The customer must remove any unconsumed portion of the alcoholic beverage when he/she leaves the licensed premises. The licensee can charge a corkage” or other fee to a customer bringing his/her own alcoholic beverages to the licensed premises.

How old do you have to be to purchase non-alcoholic beers and similar “non-alcoholic” products? There is no minimum age requirement for the purchase or consumption of a non-alcoholic beer or other products identified as “non-alcoholic.” These items contain less than one-half of one percent of alcohol and are not considered to be alcoholic beverages.

What is the “unlimited drink offering” law? On-premises licensees are prohibited from offering, selling, serving or delivering an unlimited number of drinks to a patron or patrons during a set period of time for a fixed price. For example, a “$20- all you can drink” special would be a violation of this law. These licensees are also prohibited from advertising, promoting or charging a price for drinks that, in the judgment of the SLA, is an attempt to circumvent the law.
The law does not apply to: private functions not opened to the public, such as weddings, banquets, or receptions, or other similar functions,; or to a package of food and beverages where the service of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the event or function. In addition, the SLA has determined that 2 for 1, half price and Happy Hour specials whereby the price of a drink is not lower than one-half of the premise's normal or regular price for the same drink does not constitute an attempt to circumvent, the intent and purpose of this statute.

Are football pools, dice games, sign up sheets illegal? Yes, gambling is prohibited in any business with an on-premises or off-premises license. This includes social, casual and professional gambling. Exceptions are the sale of lottery tickets when licensed by the Division of the Lottery and, at on-premises establishments, bingo or games of chance authorized by state law.

Does the SLA have tips or training for bartenders? The SLA does not provide training to servers but does certify trainers to offer the Alcohol Awareness Training Program for those licensed to sell alcoholic beverages and their employees. The Authority has established requirements for the curriculum of the program and approves schools and other entities to teach the program. A list of certified trainers is available on this web site (Training Information).

Can a liquor or wine store licensee sell wine: (a) out of state or (b) over the internet?
(a) A liquor or wine store may sell and ship alcoholic beverages to a customer in another state as long as that state allows the licensee to make such sales and the licensee complies with the laws of that state. The alcoholic beverages must be shipped using a business that holds a trucking permit.
(b) A liquor or wine store can accept orders placed via the internet. For customers in this state, the alcoholic beverages can be picked up by the customer at the licensed premises or the licensee may ship the alcoholic beverage to the customer’s home or office. Deliveries can be made: by a messenger on foot; using a vehicle owned/hired and operated by the licensee; or by a business that holds a trucking permit. Orders made via internet by out-of-state customers are governed by the instructions set forth above regarding sales to out-of-state customers.





How do I file a request for information which is not offered on the SLA website? A significant amout of information, including information about specific licensees and locations, is available on this web site. If you do not find the information you, are looking for, please write a letter, telephone or send an e-mail requesting the information to:
FOIL Office
State Liquor Authority 
80 S. Swan Street Suite 900 
Albany New York 12210
 
(518) 474-3114 
E-MAIL: FOIL@sla.ny.gov
Please be as specific as possible when requesting records, so that we may easily identify which records are responsive to your request.

What happens to my request when you receive it? Your request is entered into our tracking system. We then identify and locate the records you have requested. We review them for responsiveness to your request and insure that release of the records complies with the Freedom of Information Law. The materials are photocopied and sections that are determined to be non-releasable are blacked out. Sometimes an answer to a request contains hundreds or thousands of pages, and may take some time to assemble.
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How soon can I expect an answer? Within five business days of receipt of your request we will send you the information requested or an acknowledgment of your request with an estimate of the time needed to review and respond. Generally, most requests for records are filled within 30 to 60 days.

What items are exempt from disclosure? The state’s FOIL Law includes nine reasons for denying access to information. The most common reasons for disapproval of a request are: 
(a) The information may result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. For example: home telephone numbers, home addresses, e-mail addresses, and Social Security numbers; 
(b) The information consists of trade secrets - records that if released could cause harm to the competitive position of a business or enterprise; 
(c) The information was gathered for law enforcement purposes which, if disclosed, could interfere with due process; 
(d) The information consists of a list of names and addresses which would be used for commercial or fund-raising activities.

May I see the documents before I decide if I want copies? Yes. When you send your request to us, you may specify if you would like to inspect the documents. We will contact you to schedule an appointment to come to our offices and view the materials. Arrangements will be made if you desire photocopies of documents. You will be charged for any copies of documents that had portions blacked out and re-photocopied before your review, even if you elect not to take them.

What is the fee? You will be charged 25 cents per page for photocopying. Payment can be made with a check, postal or money order. Please make payable to New York State Liquor Authority and record the tracking number in the memo section of your check.

What if I want to appeal a determination that some or all of the records that I have requested are being withheld? If we do not timely respond to a FOIL request, or if a request for access to records has been denied in whole or in part, an appeal may be filed with the Authority’s appeals officer.
An appeal should be sent in writing to the following address:
FOIL Appeals Officer 
State Liquor Authority
80 S. Swan Street, Suite 900
Albany, NY 12210-8002
Once an appeal is received, we will mail an acknowledgment of its receipt to the individual filing the appeal. Following a review of your request and the explanation given for the denial, the appeals officer will issue a final determination. If the determination is to release records, the individual filing the appeal will be notified of the cost of reproducing the records and, alternatively that he or she may review the records at the Authority' office.
The appeals officer's FOIL appeal determination is a final agency action and may be challenged in state supreme court.


Surprisingly, before you can even sell one bottle of liquor on your premises, you have to deal with cases upon cases of paperwork. Yes, paperwork – meaning you have to do lots of legwork on your own. If it is feasible, you need to retain the services of a lawyer to help you work out some fundamental issues of this business like contracts and zoning issues.

Like all things legal, you need to inquire about the all federal laws, state laws, city laws and county restrictions, not to mention zoning laws in your vicinity. A good lawyer can save you a lot of time and effort when deciphering these laws, and he can point you in the right direction should zoning issues about your liquor store become problematic. You need to find out also when you can actually sell liquor to your patrons. Different states, cities and counties have different restrictions as to the time any liquor store in their jurisdiction can sell their products. Non-compliance to the laws is considered a criminal offense.

If hiring a lawyer is not an option as of yet, then at the very least, you have to research all about liquor restrictions via the Internet before actually investing time and money into the venture. However, it should be stressed that hiring the service of a competent lawyer is really necessary when you are opening your own liquor store. If all systems seem to be working in your favor, you then must acquire your licenses and permits for your business – and these should be prominently displayed in your store at all times.
Your second option is choosing what kind of liquor store you actually want to set up. Establishing your own store under a name you have chosen for yourself is one option. Buying a franchise for an earlier established liquor store is another option. Setting up a part of a shop (say a small grocery store) with a few supplies of liquor is another option. Choosing from one of these three options is involves many things like budget, space and location, to name a few. One of the perks of buying a franchise is that the franchising office actually gives you a list of their liquor suppliers.
If however, you should decide to “wing it,” your next viable step is to get a list of suppliers for your liquor. This course of action also ends up with a pile of paperwork, and it would benefit you greatly to know all about alcohol beverage laws for retailers and licensee responsibilities. You cannot under any circumstance just buy liquor anywhere because there will periodic checks made by Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Agency. You also need to keep receipts from your sales and other invoices should the agents or police ask for them during these checks. Non-compliance to the Agency and its representatives can be considered as a misdemeanor.


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