Liquor store tug of war hinges on Langley council decision

Township council is being asked to decide between a landlord and tenant.

The owner and landlord of a new liquor store sparred over relocation plans before Langley Township council on Monday.

The Shark Club Liquor Store was one attached to the restaurant of the same name – but the eatery closed some years ago.

Between that and decreasing visibility from the street, business has dropped off each year, said owner Scott Thomson. In 2017, the store made just $1,700 net profit.

Thomson asked council to re-consider an application to move the store a short distance to the west to the Thunderbird shopping plaza. In December, council turned down the application.

“Our liquor store is not a viable business at its current location,” Thomson said.

If they close, he said he plans to relocate the license to another part of the province.

Because of BC liquor law changes since the store was opened, no other liquor store would be allowed to locate nearby if they close instead of moving, Thomson said. That would leave only one liquor store in western Walnut Grove.

The landlord at the current location urged council not to allow the move, arguing it would hurt other businesses in that plaza.

“For many of them, the liquor store represents an anchor tenant,” said Michael Anderson of Reading Projects, the landlord for the current location.

He argued the liquor store will be profitable in its current location with the Oak and Thorne opening in the former Shark Club location.

If the store does close, he says Reading Projects will either offer to buy its liquor store license, or will buy the license from Walnut Grove’s other liquor store.

“We urge council to maintain the status quo,” he said.

Council will vote later this month on whether or not to reconsider the plan to move the Shark Club Liquor Store.

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