I-25 widening impact: Drive-In Liquors buys out Charlie’s, is relocating there
Last year at this time, Mike Morrissey was figuring his Drive-In Liquors store under I-25 at Colorado Avenue might last about
five more years before the I-25 widening project forced him to find another location.
Then opportunity came knocking. Charlie Redmond, owner of Charlie's Liquors three blocks away at Spruce and Bijou streets, decided he was ready to retire.
To make a long story short, after thinking “hard and long,” as he put it, Morrissey bought Redmond's store and, starting this weekend, will begin transitioning his inventory over there.
“I had a choice,” he said. “Either buy a new building and start over, which would cost less, or buy Charlie's and take a chance I could keep my customers.”
As a result, he said with a brave grin, “I've gone from low debt to serious debt.” But he thinks the move will pay off. After all, Drive-In Liquors has been in existence since 1958, and in Morrissey's family since '72.
“We're an institution,” he said. “We're just changing locations. My only fear is the Bijou construction (a new interchange going in sometime before 2008) will affect me. I hope the locals will support me.”
The timing isn't all bad. The Colorado Department of Transportation, in accordance with its regulations, is helping with Morrissey's relocation and equipment-replacement costs. But he would have gotten more assistance if he'd moved to a new site.
The Charlie's store, in a shopette at 141 N. Spruce St., is about the same size as the old Drive-In Liquors, but has more cooler space, Morrissey said.
Ironically, Redmond moved his store there in 2000 when his first store (Arvada Liquors near South Nevada Avenue) had to be relocated for the I-25 widening in that area.
“I got the same boot Mike got,” he said.
He'd run his store about 12 years in all. “Your customers hate to see you go, but when it's time, it's time,” said Redmond, who plans to retire and “help my wife a little bit.”
Westside Pioneer article