Rural Ontario Communities to Get Full Beer Store

…The Beer Store today launched its new "Retail Partners Program". Designed to add new value and services to existing and future agency stores, the Retail Partners Program will bring rural communities full Beer Store service through an enhanced commercial relationship between agency store operators…

The Beer Store
January 9, 2002

Rural Ontario Communities to Get Full Beer Store
News Release

Following the recent announcement of 18 new Eastern Ontario agency store communities by Consumer and Business Services Minister Norm Sterling, The Beer Store today launched its new "Retail Partners Program". Designed to add new value and services to existing and future agency stores, the Retail Partners Program will bring rural communities full Beer Store service through an enhanced commercial relationship between agency store operators and The Beer Store.

"While an expanded agency store program definitely improves consumer access, what happens in these stores in terms of brand selection, customer convenience, shopping experience, and retailer profitability is equally important," comments Lucio Di Clemente, President, The Beer Store. "That's what The Beer Store Retail Partners Program is all about - adding new value and improved services."

As Beer Store Retail Partners, existing agents and future agents will benefit from the following: - Higher profit margins on the sale of beer. Historically, retail agents have received a 10.7% commission on the sale of beer. As Beer Store Retail Partners, agents will receive a 11.5% commission. As a result of this 7.5% increase, a typical Beer Store Retail Partner will see an extra $3,000 in gross margin annually.

- Up to $10,000 in start-up grants for new agents. These start-up grants will help new agents make necessary capital upgrades to renovate their businesses to support the sale of beer and the return of empty beer packaging. The Beer Store will work cooperatively with new agents to determine how these grants might be used, for example, to cover the cost of adding Beer Store signage, store fixtures,
or refrigeration. This branding will link and associate agents' operations to the retail and brand renewal
that is ongoing in several Beer Store corporate markets across Ontario.

- Up to $2,500 in grants to existing agency store operators to install Beer Store signage and other capital upgrades in order to become Beer Store Retail Partners. The Beer Store will work with existing agents to identify potential improvements that will enhance their business and support the sale of beer.

- Financial incentives for participating in The Beer Store's world-renowned environmental bottle and packaging return system. The Beer Store will assist its Retail Partners in supporting the environment – an average Beer Store Retail Partner will receive about $4,800 a year in beer container return incentives.
Moreover, container returns to the point-of-purchase means both increased traffic and sales and improved customer convenience.

- On-going merchandising and promotional support. Beer Store Retail Partners will be able to participate in select Beer Store promotions and sales programs and receive merchandising and inventory management support.

- Product listing discretion. The Beer Store will not mandate that its Retail Partners carry specific brands - only that certain brand categories (e.g. premium brands, regular priced brands, and value priced brands) be represented.

In addition to launching its Retail Partners Program, The Beer Store is seeking approval to immediately introduce The Beer Store Retail Partners program in five of the communities in which the LCBO is currently prevented from appointing and establishing agency stores. To expedite beer service to these communities, The Beer Store has requested that the Minister of Consumer and Business Services, The Honourable Norman Sterling, facilitate the prompt approval of Beer Store Retail Partners by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in the five communities of South Mountain, Bath, Constance Bay, Verona, and Wolfe Island.

"It's the Beer Store's intention to bring the Minister's vision of improved customer service to these localities as soon as possible. The Beer Store and beer drinkers shouldn't have to wait another two years until the LCBO can open in these communities," says Di Clemente. "With this in mind, we are asking that once we have selected potential Beer Store Retail Partners in these communities, their applications receive the same timely government approval as do our applications for corporately-operated stores."

The Beer Store is the primary distribution and sales channel for beer in Ontario, servicing 17,000 licensed customers, 600 government-owned LCBO retail locations, and 433 retail stores in 231 communities. Customers can choose from more than 270 beer brands from 60 brewers from around the world. The Beer Store is proud of its 75-year history of social responsibility and environmental leadership including its bottle-deposit-return system and commitment to recover 100% of beer packaging.


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