Cheers Liquor buys Beer DepotPublished 9:39am Wednesday, May 11, 2011
AUSTIN — Starting next week, The Beer Depot Inc. will have a new name and new ownership.
Craig Stickfort, owner of Cheers Liquor in Albert Lea, bought The Beer Depot about two weeks ago from Mike Ankeny, and will change the Austin business’s name to Cheers Liquor when he takes over, which could be as soon as Monday.
“We’ve been involved in Austin for many years even though we live in Albert Lea, and we’re looking forward to taking over this location,” Stickfort said.
Stickfort said he and his wife, Angie, were partners at Bell Liquor Store in Austin four years ago, and they owned rental property in the city as well.
Stickfort has owned Cheers Liquor in Albert Lea for more than six years, and he said they’re looking forward to branching out.
“Once we thought about it, sharing the cost of advertising and being able to give better deals to the community, we thought it was a win-win situation,” Stickfort said.
Stickfort said they will have about six full-time employees, which is what the store has now. He said they hope to keep some of the current employees, and they’ve already hired a new manager, Stephanie Gerber, of Myrtle, to replace Peggy Struthers, who is retiring.
Struthers said she managed The Beer Depot for 12 years.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” she said. “I’m going to miss all the people, all the customers.”
Depot employee LoAnne Perrigo said she will miss working for Struthers.
“(Peggy) has been an awesome manager. I’m sad to see her go,” Perrigo said.
The Stickforts said they were approached by Fawver Agency Real Estate about purchasing the property, and on March 25, they bought it for $285,000 from Lynn and Marilyn Koch. Stickfort said Ankeny was ready to sell the business as well, so about a month later, they bought that, too.
“After we purchased the building, (Ankeny) showed some interest in giving us an opportunity to purchase the liquor store, so we talked about it and worked out the details,” Stickfort said.
Stickfort also co-owns Northstar Power Sports & Marine in Albert Lea.
Ankeny was not available for comment.