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Bottle Barn Off Broadway liquor license request to go to Fargo City Commission

The owner of the Bottle Barn liquor stores said if he's granted a license, he plans to open an off-sale shop this fall in the Kesler Building, which is nearing completion on Second Avenue North.

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Bottle Barn owner Joel Wold speaks to the Fargo Liquor Control Board during their meeting Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Fargo City Hall.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO - The owner of Bottle Barn Liquors stores is preparing to open another outlet in Fargo’s downtown.

Joel Wold has received the backing of the city’s Liquor Control Committee to obtain an AB liquor license for a Bottle Barn Off Broadway store he plans to open in the Kesler Building, which is nearing completion at 624 2nd Ave. N.

The Liquor Control board voted 4-0 Tuesday, May 18, to send the license request to the City Commission for final approval.

Wold told The Forum that the Kilbourne Group, downtown Fargo’s most prominent developer, has been trying to get him to open an off-sale liquor store in that part of town since 2016.

“I wanted to go slower. I wanted to make sure Block 9 (now called the RDO Building), was built and flourishing” first, he said.

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He was approached by Kilbourne Group again 18 months ago and decided to take the plunge.

“Just with all the increasing population of downtown … we’re going to try it,” Wold said.

Wold told the liquor board that he plans to open the new shop this fall, provided that he can get the license and all of his needed fixtures, coolers and other supplies through what has been a snarled supply chain for many retailers.

Due to worries of panhandling and public intoxication downtown, Wold told the liquor commission he wouldn’t stock small “shooter,” half pint or pint bottles of liquor.

Wold said he’ll have identification scanners, 16 cameras and two workers on staff at all times. Hours will also be limited, with opening about 10 a.m. (mainly to accommodate suppliers) and closing about 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 p.m. on weekends, and Sundays at 7 p.m.

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Work on the Kesler Building, 624 2nd Ave. N., Fargo, continues Tuesday, May 18, 2022. The owner of the Bottle Barn Liquors stores in Fargo and West Fargo told the city's liquor board he plans to open a shop in downtown Fargo this fall, provided he receives approval for a liquor license.

An AB license allows the holder to sell beer, wine and liquor both on-sale and off-sale, City Auditor Steve Sprague said. Bottle Barn will only be selling off-sale, Sprague said.

Police Chief Dave Zibolski said Wold and his company have passed the city’s background checks, though he added that the police department’s Downtown Resource Officers did say they had worries about adding another off-sale license in the downtown area.

Wold owns the Bottle Barn Liquors stores at 2515 S. University Drive, Fargo, and 3171 Bluestem Drive, West Fargo.

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Committee member Kay Schwarzwalter said she worried about adding another liquor license downtown.

“I, as a downtown resident … I see public intoxication each time I am out on a walk,” Schwarzwalter said. “I’m uncomfortable with it.”

Committee member Lydia Tackett said she is also worried about panhandling and public intoxication, and suggested that city officials reach out to groups dealing with homelessness and addiction issues to get their input on regulations that could address those problems.

Dave Piepkorn, the city commissioner who chairs the Liquor Control board, also asked Sprague to track down figures on the number of people living downtown, as well as the number of liquor licenses in the area.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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