Business

Liquor store closes after two months

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

The former Washington state liquor store in Sequim is closed again.

 

Kulbir Singh, an Indiana businessman, purchased the store’s license in April and promptly announced plans to re-open it in the same location.

 

He did just that on June 12, including re-hiring three of the five store workers who formerly had been on the state payroll.

 

Sandy Kvam, who managed the store for both the state and Singh, said she received a call from Singh’s attorneys Sunday night, Aug. 19. They instructed her to go to the store the following morning to make a bank deposit.

 

When Kvam arrived, she found the store, which is located near the Super Walmart, completely empty.

“Lock, stock and barrel,” she said.

 

Kvam said she knew the end was coming. She’d been told the store wasn’t profitable enough. “I was going to call a staff meeting Monday morning to say we would be closing.”

 

She said Singh’s lawyer told her she and the store’s other employees would be paid through Sunday, Aug. 26.

 

Sgt. Pat McFerran, an enforcement official with the Washington State Liquor Board, said he found the store empty when he dropped by on Monday, Aug. 20.

 

McFerran said he didn’t know the store had re-opened under Singh, but said he noticed the large “Grand Opening” sign over the store’s entry.

 

McFerran said by law Singh is required to report the closure to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Background

When he purchased the license in April, Singh also purchased an additional eight licenses for former state liquor stores throughout Washington, including the Port Townsend liquor store, which neighbors of the store confirm is still operating.

 

Singh paid $63,200 for the Sequim license. The state store grossed more than $3.5 million in 2011.

 

Under Washington law, the owner of a liquor store license can re-sell the license or request an alternative location within a one-mile radius of the existing location.

 

McFerran said he’s not certain that’s the case for Singh, who was operating under a temporary license while his formal license application was in process. McFerran said because that’s the case, the further disposition of the Sequim license remains unsettled.

 

Singh has not returned phone calls from the Sequim Gazette.

 

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.
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