Wesley Morgan may not be opening up a Liquor World in Somerset anytime soon. But remember the name — you might be hearing it in the future.
“Our plan is still to come to Somerset, and we will be there as soon as we make some deal with somebody,” said Morgan, “as soon as they decide (the liquor business) is the wrong thing for them to be in.”
Morgan is the CEO of Liquor World, a high-volume alcoholic beverage retailer headquartered in Kentucky. In addition to its 27,000-square-foot headquarters in Richmond, Liquor World operates a 4,000-square-foot express store in Manchester.
But Morgan was seeking a presence in Somerset as well. As expressed to the Commonwealth Journal in September, the businessman had designed on spending $5 million to purchase and remodel the North Plaza Shopping Center on North U.S. 27, where Big Lots and Peddler’s Mall are currently located.
For now, at least, that won’t be happening. The Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced the five local businesses to be awarded Retail Liquor Package licenses — the certification needed to sell distilled spirits and wine in a commercial store setting. The state determined that only five of approximately 17 applicants would be awarded the limited “quota” licenses, based on Somerset’s size and what Kentucky ABC officials determined the market to be.
Morgan’s business Liquor World — along with similar competitor Liquor Mart, which also has a presence in Richmond along with neighboring communities like Danville and Lancaster — was in the hunt, but found themselves denied. The licenses were awarded to two national pharmacy chains with locations in Somerset — Rite-Aid and Walgreens — and three local business owners with smaller facilities than what Liquor World would be planning.
Morgan had previously said the Somerset Liquor World would hire between 15 and 25 employees from the local labor force.