Emerald City Spirits (118 NE 45th St), previously the Washington State Liquor Store across from Dick’s. And, much to our surprise it looked like…a liquor store!
Yep, things are mostly unchanged inside, although the selection of liquor seems to have expanded slightly, especially in the Scotch section. But, whereas before it was owned by the State, now it’s owned by the Niesel family, three generations of them: Chet and Nancy, Sean and Greg.
They purchased the business from the state, and, as such, didn’t know exactly what their stock would be when they took it over. The stock they ended up with was considerably less than they expected, so there was some rebuilding to do, plus they ended up with overstock of some items (e.g., Jim Beam, now on sale). Their plan is to operate it much as the liquor store it was, with a few additions: snacks, cigarettes, wine and beer.
They seem like nice folks, and we wish them the best. It’s going to be a tough row to hoe, what with Wine World selling liquor just a few blocks away, plus QFC and Trader Joe’s.
We know Wine World is investing heavily in a varied liquor collection, and from our scan of the shelves, it sure seemed like Wine World had a broader selection, although there were likely some brands at Emerald City Spirits you wouldn’t find at Wine World. Price-wise, we spot-checked a Scotch (Macallan 12 year), a bourbon (Jim Beam) and a vodka (Absolut) and Wine World was less expensive on two out of the three, if by only a dollar or two. Emerald City Spirits came in $.50 cheaper on the Jim Beam, but they’re having on a sale.
And then, Wine World isn’t exactly making it easy for them, either. During the days they were closed for inventory after the state store buy-out, Wine World had someone out front pamphleting, and, according to the Niesel’s, posting signs in the Emerald City Spirits window that said “Closed for good”. Business is business, but tacky is tacky.
Store hours are 10 am – 10 pm except for Sundays, when it’s noon – 8 pm.
UPDATE (June 26, 10:17 PM)
David LeClaire, owner of Wine World sent us the following in response to this post. He’s right, we should have asked for a response before posting. We certainly didn’t intend to enflame enmity between local businesses, our flip comment notwithstanding. In fairness, here is David’s response:
There was no business operating there the day the “state stores closed” their doors for good. We figured it would be a month or two before anyone re-opened the store, especially since the new buyers were from out of state (Florida) and had just purchased the rights to re-open the store at some point after the original buyer from didn’t exercise his option. We weren’t trying to be bad neighbors, just letting people know we were a close by option now that the state was out of the business and selling spirits now.
Here’s a copy of the actual informative flyer we handed out. I’d appreciate considering talking to us before making negative comments such as tacky is tacky. We are an active part of the neighborhood, are locally owned, and have done a lot to be part of the community, unlike these people who just moved in from Florida hoping to take advantage of the “gold rush.”
To be fair, while the eldest generation of Neisel’s are from out of town, the youngest was born here in Seattle, and the youngest two live in Lynnwood and Edmonds.