New Norton ABC store aims for June opening

Mike Still • Apr 3, 2019 at 1:48 PM

NORTON — The walls and roof are up for the city’s fourth Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority store location in four decades.

ABC spokesperson Dawn Eischen said Tuesday that the newest location at 725 Hawthorne Drive near Walmart will open in June. The store will replace the existing Store 137 in the VA-KY Regional Shopping Center on Highway 58-E.

Norton has seen its ABC store change locations two times earlier since the 1980s, when it was located on Park Avenue in the downtown area. The store moved to another downtown shopping center on Coeburn Avenue in the 1980s, then to its present location in 1990.

“We anticipate the same number of employees at the new location as Store 137, which is 15 employees,” Eischen said.

While the new location is slated for a June opening, no exact date has been set, Eischen said.

The Norton ABC store is one of three serving Norton and Wise County, with the other two in Big Stone Gap and St. Paul. According to ABC data for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the existing Norton store saw almost $1.5 million in sales compared to approximately $528,000 for the St. Paul store and $742,000 for the Big Stone Gap store. That translated into 21,622 gallons of alcoholic beverages for Norton, 7,953 gallons at the St. Paul store and 11,669 gallons in Big Stone Gap.

Eischen said the new store location is leased, which is ABC policy for all of its 370 stores. The new store will be in a multi-tenant structure, like the existing facility.

ABC’s decision to move the store was based on the commission’s standard criteria for store locations, Eischen said. Those criteria include demographics, traffic patterns, population, location rental rates, sales, a shopping center’s mix of tenants, distance from other ABC stores and store accessibility for deliveries.

The VA-KY Regional Shopping Center has seen four anchor retail stores depart in the last 18 years, including Walmart and a clothing store in the early 2000’s, Ingles supermarket in 2017 and Magic Mart in 2018. ABC Store 137 shares the center now with two restaurants, an insurance agency, a discount supermarket, clothing store, VA outpatient clinic, payday loan store and a charity shop.

The new store will be near Applebee’s restaurant and across from Pal’s and Sonic Drive-In.

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