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The director of real estate and leasing for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission said this new Liquor and Wine Outlet being built off Route 101 in Bedford will see sales increase by at least 25 percent over the existing Bedford store, located in Colby Court. (HENRY METZ/Union Leader Correspondent)

High hopes for liquor store in Bedford

BEDFORD - The new state liquor and wine outlet now under construction on a parcel adjacent to The Copper Door restaurant off Route 101 will see at least a 25 percent increase in sales over the current store on Colby Court, the director of real estate and leasing for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission said.

"That's a conservative estimate," said Andy Davis. "We fully expect that in the first year of operation this new store will do much, much stronger in sales with more selection and a larger location."

Davis said the Liquor Commission has entered into a 15-year lease with the owner of the property, AV Bedford LLC, and will likely take occupancy of the building "sometime around the end of the year."

The building will be more than 12,000 square feet, which "is considered big by the older standards" but not as big as the newest Nashua store, which is 20,000-square feet.

The current outlet store on Colby Court, next to Hannaford supermarket, generated somewhere between $7 million and $8 million in gross sales last year, Davis said. He said that while the commission attempted to work with Hannaford Bros., the landlord, to stay in the Colby Court location, "it just couldn't be worked out."

Davis said there may be about a three-month overlap, meaning both stores may be open for business in that timeframe as the transition to the new location is completed. He said he expects the transition will include current employees of the Colby Court location moving to the Route 101 store. Whether the store hires additional employees will depend on the volume of inventory and sales, Davis said.

In addition to The Copper Door, Bellweather Credit Union is another tenant in the cluster of retail stores that goes by the name of Hillside Shops at Bedford. The Hillside Shops is located directly across from the Bedford Public Safety Complex on Route 101.

"Hannaford has been a really terrific landlord, and we're sorry we couldn't work something out with them, but they just couldn't accommodate our space needs," Davis said. "We've enjoyed a very good relationship with them." The existing lease agreement with Hannaford expires in February.

""Obviously we're looking to accommodate not only the typical retail customer who comes in, but we're also looking to accommodate and provide a service for our on-premises licensees," such as restaurants, Davis said. "This Bedford store is being built with that in mind."

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