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Photo of Deb Gau Bar closures in 2020 likely encouraged Minnesotans to buy more at over-the-counter liquor stores, said Eric Luther, tall grass liquor director. An annual report from the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office ranked the Marshall liquor store as one of the state’s top-grossing last year.

MARSHALL – The COVID-19 pandemic caused business closings and changed shopping habits last year, and liquor stores in Minnesota have seen the results of those changes, including in Marshall.

“We had a great year. I think most of the other non-sale stores also had a great year, ” said Eric Luther, director of Tall Grass Liquor at Marshall. “Maybe people spent a little more because the bars were closed. “

Tall Grass Liquor, Marshall’s city-owned liquor store, had more than $ 6.8 million in sales last year and was ranked among the top-grossing municipal liquor stores in Minnesota. The data was released last week as part of an annual report by the Minnesota state auditor’s office.

Statewide, municipal liquor stores reported a total of $ 410.6 million in 2020 sales and combined net profits of $ 36 million.

“Although the overall picture is better than expected, many stores faced significant challenges. Unsurprisingly, stores that relied on sitting customers had a harder time making a profit ”, said the auditor Julie Blaha.

According to the auditor’s report, Tall Grass Liquor achieved sales of $ 6.86 million in 2020. Net profit was approximately $ 1.04 million, or 15.2% of the company’s sales. store. That percentage was the fourth highest of all municipal liquor stores in Minnesota last year.

The municipal liquor store with the highest profit margin, in the Town of Plainview, had a net profit of approximately $ 460,000, or more than 62% of sales. However, the No.1 ranking didn’t necessarily mean that business was booming last year.

In 2020, the Plainview liquor store was ranked 107th in the state for gross sales in 2020, out of a total of 179 stores. Plainview City Council voted to sell the liquor store, a mixed on-sale / off-sale store, to a private owner in August 2020.

Statewide, Marshall’s municipal liquor store ranked 16th in gross sales in 2020. The top of the sales rankings included the cities of Lakeville, Richfield, Edina, Eden Prairie and Apple Valley. Liquor stores in each of these communities had more than $ 10 million in sales last year, with Lakeville having sales of $ 18.26 million.

The town of Tracy municipal non-sale liquor store had sales of $ 870,812 in 2020. The store had a net profit of $ 18,617, or 2.1% of sales.

Not all municipal liquor stores in the Marshall region performed well in 2020. The Walnut Grove municipal liquor store recorded net losses of over $ 61,000 last year, and stores in ‘Ivanhoe, Balaton and Russell also operated at a loss. Municipal liquor stores in these four communities were involved in sales and sales.

Although profits at municipal liquor stores increased by more than 29% in 2020, non-sales operations performed better than those on sale, according to the auditor’s report. Between 2019 and 2020, the net profit of over-the-counter liquor stores increased by more than 35%, but the net profit of liquor-on-sale stores decreased by 12%.

“On-sale stores significantly reduced their operating expenses in response, but the CARES Act funding in 2020 could only be used for direct expenses related to COVID. This is another example why those of us who work with local governments have pushed to add relief for lost revenue in federal programs in 2021, ” Blaha said Thursday.

The auditor’s report indicated that four communities in the region were due to hold hearings on the future of their liquor stores in 2021. Liquor stores Hanley Falls, Ivanhoe, Russell and Walnut Grove recorded net losses in at least two of the past three years, according to the report. .

Luther said Tall Grass Liquor faces challenges similar to those of other retail businesses in 2020, including supply shortages. Luther said he tried to manage the store’s inventory well and get deals that both benefit the store and provide good value to customers.

“My objective is to carry out a very good operation” he said.

Proceeds from the liquor store are used to fund projects in the City of Marshall, such as improving parks, and also help ease the city’s property tax burden, he said.

City liquor stores with the highest net profit as a percentage of sales

(Data from the Minnesota Office of the State Auditor’s report on liquor store operations in 2020.)

1. Plainview

2020 sales: $ 735,130

Net profit: $ 460,102 (62.6% of sales)

2. Fairmont

2020 sales: $ 4.63 million.

Net profit: $ 759,241 (16.4% of sales)

3. Perham

2020 sales: $ 4.43 million

Net profit: $ 682,393 (15.4% of sales)

4. Marshal

2020 sales: $ 6.86 million

Net profit: $ 1.04 million (15.2% of sales)

5. Fergus Falls

2020 sales: $ 7.56 million

Net profit: $ 1.12 million (14.8% of sales)

6. Lakes of Detroit

2020 sales: $ 8.9 million

Net profit: $ 1.3 million (14.7% of sales)

7. Monticello

2020 sales: $ 7.4 million

Net profit: $ 1.08 million (14.6% of sales)

8. The city of pines

2020 sales: $ 2.41 million

Net profit: $ 351,186 (14.5% of sales)

9. Big lake

2020 sales: $ 5.75 million

Net profit: $ 828,634 (14.4% of sales)

10. Mora

2020 sales: $ 4.43 million

Net profit: $ 602,727 (13.6% of sales)

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