Holdout Central Market applies for liquor license

POULSBO — The higher-ups in the corporation that owns Central Market say they’ve still not decided whether to offer liquor at their megastore in Poulsbo, although they’ve now applied for a liquor license for that location.

“We’re still in the process of testing and analyzing,” said Don Thornton, beer and wine specialist with Town & Country Markets, Inc., owner of Central Market in Poulsbo, Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Ballard Market, and Central Markets in Shoreline and Mill Creek.

The corporation began testing specialty liquor sales at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge as well as a full selection of liquor at Central Market in Shoreline on June 1, when the privatization initiative kicked in.

They’ve been pleased with the sales in those two locations.

“It’s going really well, actually,” Thornton said.

He said the next step for the corporation was to apply for liquor licenses for the remaining locations including Poulsbo, and then make the decision whether to sell there.

He said it takes a long time to get a license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board. If the decision is made to expand liquor sales to some or all of their remaining stores, corporate leaders don’t want to have to wait on the licenses.

“The time that it took us initially, it was over two months,” he said.

That makes Central Market the only known holdout not offering the hard stuff among local full-size grocery stores. On June 1, grocery stores with more than 10,000 square feet of space and some specialty retailers were allowed to begin offering liquor, due to voter approval of the liquor privatization initiative, I-1183, last fall.

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