And even though Apple’s may not have the same kind of inventory of the big liquor stores in Richmond or Lexington, that may actually be an advantage, suggested Johnson.
“We’ll be able to get to know our customers, and handle any needs they’ve got,” said Johnson. “It’s just more personable.”
Apple’s is located in the Somerset Mall, with an outside entrance on the northeast end of the building. While there aren’t as many active businesses in that corridor of the mall as in past years, Johnson is hopeful that the store may be good for the facility as a whole.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get more foot traffic in the mall to help the stores close to us,” said Johnson. “This is a good location on the south end of town.”
Indeed, with the mall resting essentially on the border with Burnside, it’s the southernmost liquor store so far approved by the Kentucky ABC in Somerset, putting in prime position for certain corners of the regional market.
“We hope to get Burnside and any other adjoining counties, like Wayne County or McCreary County,” said Johnson, “and also maybe hit some lake (tourism) traffic as it comes in on the Ky. 914 bypass.”
Johnson said that the store features 1,500 square feet of retail shelf space and a “wide range of all products,” including wine, bourbons, vodka, gin, and other distilled spirits. It also carries beer and craft beer products, and features a special “wine cellar” room.
Johnson owns the store with partner Jordan Absher, who has a history in the construction industry locally. The store is named after Johnson’s significant other, Jeff Absher, who goes by the nickname “Apple” among those who know him well.
Absher said he decided to “jump in with both feet” when the opportunity came along to capitalize on Somerset’s “wet” status, voted in by citizens last June after having been “dry” — or unable to legally sell alcohol — since Prohibition ended in the United States in 1933. Pulaski County citizens opted to stay “dry” following that time and did so for decades.