Under new ownership, liquor store moves down the street

Vashon’s liquor store has a new owner and has moved to the southern edge of town.

Vashon Liquor employee Cortez Ellison works at the store

Vashon’s liquor store has a new owner and has moved to the southern edge of town.

Local businessman Ted Yi recently purchased Vashon Liquor, which was located near the heart of town, from owners Karen Lindskog and Cherry Morgan.

Yi lives off-island but owns the property that houses the Chevron gas station and convenience store, as well as Snapdragon  Bakery and Cafe and the Hastings-Cone Gallery. He moved the liquor store into the only empty storefront in that strip, something he said would save on rent costs and may encourage customers to visit the other businesses there. Yi used to own the gas station as well, but now owns only the property.

“I wanted to make it one-stop shopping,” he said.

Lindskog and Morgan owned Vashon Liquor for six years, originally managing it as a state-run store.

When liquor sales were privatized in Washington in 2012, the women kept the shop open by purchasing its entire inventory from the state.

While Lindskog said their business did take a hit from new liquor sales elsewhere, they were making it financially, and they recently decided to sell the store primarily for personal reasons.

She added that she was grateful for the customers and local restaurants that continued to buy from the store in recent years. On the island, Vashon Market IGA and Island Lumber both sell liquor. Vashon Thriftway recently added liquor to its inventory as well, though Lindskog said she believes the grocery store’s owner held off on selling it while she and Morgan still owned the liquor store.

“I really want to thank everyone on the island for all the support they gave the store,” she said. “It wasn’t a lack of community support that did this. A lot of personal reasons went into selling.”

Yi said he approached Lindskog and Morgan about purchasing the business a couple of years ago and was glad to have the opportunity to buy it now. He has purchased the store’s entire inventory.

Last week Yi was putting final touches on the new space, which he noted is smaller than the store’s former storefront but is configured differently and feels more open.  Eventually the shop will have 18 craft beers on tap, he said, as well as a cooler with more selections. He also hopes to eventually expand the store’s inventory and add a high-end wine section.

Lindskog said that despite the challenges facing small liquor stores, she believes Yi will do well there.

“He’s got a business head on him,” she said.