At least 15 state-run ABC liquor stores set to close due to budget cuts
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Citing a $5.5 million cut to its fiscal year 2016 budget, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board announced late Thursday that is will have to close or consolidate at least 15 state-run ABC liquor stores. The closures will take place over the next three to six months.
ABC Administrator Mac Gipson announced the closures saying, "the legislature has seriously jeopardized our ability to meet our financial obligations," after finalizing a General Fund budget that, "arbitrarily reduced the ABC Board's spending authority..."
Gipson said the ABC Board requested a budget for 2016 in the range of $77 million, but the legislature reduced that figure to $74 million, on par with 2015's budget. On the last night of the second special session, the legislature reduced ABC's budget even further.
Gipson said the ABC Board generated $215 million for the General Fund in 2014.
The list of store closures include:
Store 16: 1995 Coliseum Boulevard, Montgomery
Store 34: 655 North Oates Street, Dothan
Store 37: 514 Kirkland Street, Suite B, Abbeville
Store 47: 6 South Broad Street, York
Store 54: 423 Washington Street, Marion
Store 63: 9563 Vaughn Road, Pike Road
Store 81: 501 Mildred Street, Montgomery
Store 88: 3458 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery
Store 91: 1352 S. Forest Avenue, Luverne
Store 105: 10200 Eastern Shore Blvd. Unit 500, Spanish Fort
Store 112: 110 Commerce Street South, Hayneville
Store 117: 505 South Main Street, Linden
Store 130: 25405 Perdido Beach Blvd. Gulfview Square, Unit 16-B, Orange Beach
Store 147: 1435 Sunset Drive, Guntersville
Store 149: 4140 Florence Blvd., Florence
The 15 stores had a combined total sales figure for 2015 in the range of $11 million, but their combined operating income (or recurring profit) was just $170,000. Seven of the 15 stores still have rental agreements that have to be paid totaling just under $610,000. Two of the stores (130 and 34) make up the bulk of the rental costs, coming in at $475,000 with agreements that don't expire until 2019 and 2020.
Gipson said, "we are going to make every effort to transfer affected employees to other, nearby stores." There are 22 employees at these stores.
ABC will continue operating 160 other stores throughout the state.
The ABC Board's closure of stores comes a day after the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced closures of 31 satellite driver's license offices, the Alabama Department of Conservation announced closures of five state parks, and the Alabama National Guard announced accelerated plans to close up to 19 armories.
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