8 new liquor stores — and maybe curbside pickup — in the works for Utah

(Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) An artist rendering of the two-story liquor store proposed for downtown Salt Lake City.

A record eight new liquor stores could open along the Wasatch Front within the next four years, the executive director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said this week.

New stores will open in Farmington and Saratoga Springs by the end of 2020 and in Taylorsville in mid-2021, DABC Executive Director Sal Petilos told a Legislative committee.

In 2022, replacements for stores on Foothill Boulevard, in Salt Lake City, and Redwood Road in West Valley City are expected to open — as are newly constructed stores in Sugar House and east Sandy.

And, if all goes as planned, by 2023 there could be a new two-story liquor outlet — the state’s first — somewhere in downtown Salt Lake City.

Overall, Petilos told members of the Legislature’s Business, Economic Development and Labor committee, “the building of new facilities is going relatively well.”

Petilos painted an even rosier picture during the meeting when he hinted that curbside pickup might even be in the works for customers. That, however, would require additional staff, something that has been difficult to maintain because of low salaries and high turnover — which averages 86% at the 47 stores operated by the state.

It might also require approval of the Legislature, as curbside sales of beer at grocery store is banned in Utah.

The new downtown store would replace the small, aging and controversial liquor store at 205 W. 400 South, near Pioneer Park. In 2017, then-Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams asked the DABC to relocate the store to help reduce criminal activity among the homeless in the area.

Petilos said the agency has identified “a particular piece of property” for the project, but it has not officially announced the location.

Sources have said the half-acre site on the corner of 200 East and Broadway (300 South) — where a proposed redevelopment project involving the iconic Ken Sander’s Rare Books — is a likely spot. However, the artist rendering of the project shows it on the corner of 300 South and Edison Street.

The nearly 40-year-old store at 1615 Foothill Drive will soon be torn down and rebuilt as part of a redevelopment project taking place in the Lamplighter Square Shopping Center. The new liquor store is the project’s anchor tenant and, when complete, is expected to be triple its current size.

Before that can happen though, Petilos said the DABC must find a temporary space for the store — which has been difficult. “We’re working on something,” with a two-story garage, he told the committee, but the agency is still trying to determine if it can handle the large load limits.

Last year, the DABC received $7 million from the Legislature to replace the West Valley store, at 3381 S. Redwood Road, with a new store farther west. A new homeless resource center for men is located about mile east of the Redwood Road store, and advocates were concerned about the proximity.

As the DABC makes plans to expand the number of stores in the state — it also is considering technology that allows for online ordering and pickup.

“Click and collect,” said Petilos, “is nothing new.” Indeed, during the coronavirus grocery stores and other retail businesses have seen a huge uptick in the use of the technology

But it requires additional personnel, that the DABC already has a difficult time keeping, he said. “We substitute our labor for the customer’s.”


2020 • Farmington and Saratoga Springs (4th quarter)

2021 • Taylorsville (summer)

2022 • Replacement stores on Foothill Drive and in West Valley City; and new stores in Sugar House and East Sandy.

2023 • Replacement store in downtown Salt Lake City