The 4,000-square-foot store will be built on a vacant tract across from the Ingle’s grocery store in Cashiers. The building will be leased for $32,000 annually, saving Cashiers-area residents, vacationers and restaurant owners a haul into Sylva or other neighboring towns to stock up.
Profits from the new liquor store will flow back to county coffers. The building lease will be deducted from those profits.
The county will also pay up to $200,000 in the coming year for start-up costs, such as computer systems and software, shelves and display tables, and the initial inventory stocking of the store — which in itself is a six-figure proposition most likely.
The start-up costs will be paid back out of ABC profits during the next five to seven years, according to County Manager Chuck Wooten.
Despite the start-up cost, building lease and overhead of running an ABC store, the county should turn a profit in year one and increase some each year, said Jackson County ABC Chairman David Noland.
However, as far as hard numbers, “Anything I gave you would be a guess,” Noland said.
Even though the Jackson ABC board has been in existence for less than three months, it was largely a foregone conclusion that a liquor store was in the cards for Cashiers ever since a ballot measure passed last year paving the way for countywide alcohol sales. Before, the only ABC store in Jackson County was in Sylva.
Several locations for a Cashiers store were considered, including buying or leasing an existing storefront, which would have meant a quicker opening.
“I know the commissioners wanted us to be up and running sooner, but we believe this is the best option we looked at for the long haul — especially considering location, quality and cost,” said Noland.
The store will be built by the property owner and leased to the county at a fixed price of $32,000 a year for 10 years, with two options to renew for an additional five years after that. The vacant tract is 4.5 acres in all.
Noland said he wouldn’t be surprised if the property owner Louis Darre sees the ABC store as a potential magnet for additional commercial development on his property.
“That would certainly be a good anchor store,” Noland said.
Cashiers will no doubt siphon liquor sales away from Sylva. Ironically, the county will share the pain of declining sales at Sylva.
The town of Sylva splits profits from its liquor store with the county. If the Cashiers store takes a bite out of Sylva’s sales, Jackson County will feel the hit, too, and could actually come out worse off from a bottom-line standpoint.
“Certainly that is possible, but that is speculation,” Noland said.