Why Bagley Liquor is a Top 100 Retailer

Bagley Liquor in Bagley, MN top 100 retailers beverage dynamics magazine barc
Bagley Liquor in Bagley, MN.

Nestled into Bagley, MN, with a population of only 1,300 people, Bagley Liquor has managed to stand out in the small town. It also helps that they moved to a new area in 2014. Chosen for its location on US Hwy 2, the fresh space brings in a great deal more customers.

“We went from eight parking spaces to over 30 parking spaces, along with two larger spots for pickups, trailers, campers and boat trailers,” says liquor operations manager Christopher Arnold. “We also have a large LED display board on the front side of our lot, which gets roughly 3,000 to 5,000 views a day.”

Arnold notes that one of the more unique attributes of the new location is its multipurpose room. “It can be easily turned into our tasting room/classroom for educating our customers and staff,” he says.

Introducing THC-Infused Beverages

Bagley Liquor’s new store location boasts a large selection of wine, spirits, beer, mixers, cordials, liqueurs, tobacco and wine accessories. Recently, they added THC-infused beverages to their shelves, which has proven to be a profitable revenue stream.

“It seems like every month the sales continue to increase,” notes Arnold. “We also just added edibles to our product selection, as well. In my opinion, it’s almost like wine, where customers want to read about the different varieties and products.”

Due to this category’s popularity, Arnold says that Bagley Liquor will continue to offer THC products. “Our margins are very good and it’s bringing in a whole new customer base. We have shoppers coming in that aren’t liquor drinkers, but they’ll try the edibles and THC beverages,” he explains.

Along with the store’s prominent THC selection, Bagley Liquor is also known to have one of the “neatest bourbon selections north of the Mississippi,” according to Arnold.

“Bourbon is a huge category in our store,” he says. “We’ve seen some trends lately with people changing their buying habits due to the economy, but bourbon sales are not changing. We may not have the largest selection, but we have some of the nicest bourbons you can find.”

Store Improvements

One major improvement that Arnold has done in the store is reset the cream liqueur section. “I went from a block layout to a ribbon layout, which seems to be improving sales,” he says. “The reason for this is I feel that customers who normally shop the beer coolers are used to looking at everything ribbon style, or vertical brand, as I call it.”

To make it easier for the customer, Arnold decided to lay the liquor shelves out the same way and place the brands in a vertical sequence. He cites that it has improved sales in the departments in which he tested the new layout and plans on converting the rest of the liquor and wine departments over to this ribbon style over the next few months.

“I also plan on expanding my summer tasting schedules,” Arnold states. “We do very well with our wine classes and I’m going to expand it. I’m looking at doing high-end bourbon classes and possibly high-end tequila classes to improve these departments.”

Arnold started these classes in the backroom at the old store. But now that the new Bagley Liquor location has a big multipurpose room, there’s additional space for more people. “We’re also looking at possibly doing some THC classes and teaching consumers about the different products that are out there,” he says. “Since Covid, we installed a TV for brand representatives to play slideshow presentations, but we have also done some Zoom meetings with winemakers.”

Editor’s Note: This is part of our annual coverage and celebration of The Top 100 beverage alcohol retailers in the U.S., including the naming of our 2024 Retailer of the Year.

Krystina Skibo is the Trade Managing Editor at Beverage Dynamics. Reach her at kskibo@epgacceleration.com. Read her recent piece, Vodka Trends in 2024.

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