By Alexander Coolidge // Cincinnati.com
Kroger in Corryville is the first new liquor store to open in Ohio in three years as the state pushes a new format that will reshape customer experience and boost sales.
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control plans to expand the 465 stores across the Buckeye State by four percent, adding 20 new locations by the end of 2018. The blitz comes after three years of standardizing computer systems for all the locations, during which no new licenses were granted, Ohio officials said.
As part of the expansion, Ohio liquor officials are unveiling a new store format they believe will grow sales.
Under the plan, stores will be organized to showcase products by region, including Ohio-made beer and wines. Labeling will be enhanced to give shoppers pairing information and recipes. Stores will also be encouraged to hire knowledgeable clerks to make informed recommendations.
The new stores, including the Kroger in Corryville, will feature the new approach. State liquor officials will encourage existing stores to integrate the strategy.
Ohio officials didn’t release any sales projections with the new plan.
In Ohio, the state owns all the liquor-selling operations, while private businesses from mom-and-pops to supermarket giant Kroger serve as vendors. Prices are set by the state and vary only by the county sales tax.
Kroger operates 77 liquor stores in Ohio.