Liquor shelves are re-stocked at Arrow Wines & Spirits’ Far Hills Avenue store in this 2011 staff file photo.

New state liquor-store agency up for grabs in the Dayton area

Successful applicant would operate liquor store in the Fairborn area, state officials say

Ohio will add five new state liquor-store agencies statewide in the coming months — and one of them will be in the Dayton area.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control has identified Fairborn as an under-served area and is inviting prospective operators of a state liquor store to apply for the license to operate a retail liquor store. The store would have to be located within a two-mile radius of a point on the map — roughly at Kauffman Avenue (Ohio 444) and West Parkwood Drive adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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“We think the Fairborn area is a rich opportunity” to add a new store and boost revenues for the state liquor enterprise, Jim Canepa, the superintendent of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, told this news outlet in a phone interview. The other four new state liqour agencies will be in the Cincinnati and Columbus areas.

New state liquor-store agency up for grabs in Ohio

“We believe these new locations can hit the track running,” Canepa said. “We’re estimating they will generate $2.7 million to $3.2 million per year per new store.”

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Canepa said there had been “no thoughtful strategy” in recent years of how to grow the liquor business that the state essentially owns and operates. “We will look for spaces to tap into revenue,” he said. More new stores are planned following this initial block of five.

Under Canepa’s leadership, the division of liquor control will attempt to demystify spirits and focus on the stories behind some of the craft spirits available — and being produced — in the state, much as Ohio craft breweries and wineries have done.

“We want to develop a new customer experience,” the division’s superintendent said.

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But the liquor-control division also will continue to promote responsible consumption, Canepa said. The successful applicant for the new Fairborn liquor agency will have to undergo mandatory training and obtain alcohol-server certification.

The successful applicant will sell liquor from an “established business location” and must submit a “quality business plan,” liquor control officials said in their invitation to apply. “Applicants must have experience operating a retail business or equivalent experience, and must have sufficient financial resources to establish and manage a retail business,” division officials said.

Fairborn city officials said late Wednesday they are seeking more information about the planned addition of a liquor store that will likely be within the city’s borders. The application deadline for the new state-liquor agency is Sept. 6.

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Last week, Canepa changed some long-standing department policies so that it will be easier for Ohio’s small distilleries to sell directly to nearby bars, restaurants and retailers — a move that drew enthusiastic praise from Dayton-area distilleries such as Stillwright’s in Bath Twp. and Indian Creek in Miami County.