Buying a Liquor Store – Key Issues You Need to Know

Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright,  A New Jersey Buying a Business Attorney

liquor_storeA liquor store is generally considered to be a solid business that is less prone to significant economic downturns, and that can be absentee-run. However, while it is true that liquor is generally a stable retail business, there is a lot that goes into a decision to buy a liquor store and it is not, in most cases, a good “hands-off” business.

Like a general retail business, a liquor store’s profitability is also often driven by its location. However, while location is very important, it is not the most significant issue to consider.

License Issues Are Crucial

Obtaining the necessary licenses to operate a retail liquor store in New Jersey is the most important issue to consider. It is a complicated process, and in fact, it is the number one cause of deals falling apart, and forcing some liquor store purchasers from abandoning their goal of purchasing a liquor store.

There are several issues related to obtaining the necessary license(s) to operate a liquor store.

Every municipality has a different set of ordinances and guidelines. In some towns, you can simply have a license transferred without any major effort from the current owner to the new one. In other areas, the new owner has to apply for a new license and be evaluated and researched as to their background.

Before you get too deep, learn the specifics related to licensing for that particular location in your particular municipality. Investigate this yourself with the appropriate governmental agencies.

Inventory

Liquor stores are typically priced at a business value plus inventory. While You should make sure that the total price fits within your budget.

Location

Location does matter. Location is very important. If the store competes solely on price, then location is everything. To this end, having a long-term lease, at favorable terms, may become the most significant aspect of the deal.

Poor Books and Records

Many small liquor store owners are notorious for keeping poor books, and skimming off cash. While this may sound like a plus, it is, in fact, a negative for several reasons:

  • It will be difficult, and perhaps impossible to determine the gross receipts and thus,the real profits.
  • Sellers will certainly factor in this unreported income to their asking price but that can be completely unreasonable. My advice to you is simple: “If they can’t prove it – you can’t pay for it!”.
  • Rest assured that if the seller is stealing cash from the business, so too are his employees, especially from an absentee owner.
Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Interested in buying a liquor store in NJ? Then call Fred Niemann toll-free today at
(855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com to schedule a low cost and convenient consultation.