PARKERSBURG - Citing state changes to the way groceries can be sold in relation to alcoholic beverages, the North End Market has finished renovations to its store, expanding its beer, wine and liquor products while practically eliminating much of its grocery business.
Harold "Whitey" Wilkes, said the decisions was regrettable, but necessary.
New regulations require groceries to be kept separately from liquor, which would have required a number of alterations to the store. With the market making about 90 percent of its sales in alcohol, the possible alterations weren't cost-effective.
By Jody Murphy
Harold “Whitey” Wilkes and Bill Hupp of the North End Market stand inside the store’s remodeled interior.
"That wasn't the smart thing to do," Wilkes said. "Increase our costs and separate our business."
Instead, the North End Market largely did away with its grocery, meat and produce section, devoting more of the store space to its bread and butter; alcohol and party supplies. The result is one of the largest liquor, wine and beer selections in the area.
"We probably tripled our liquor area and doubled our wine area," Wilkes said.
Bill Hupp, general manager, said the market features one of the largest beer caves in the area, measuring 25-by-16 feet. Market demand increased its imported beer selection by 25 percent.
"It is easier for the customers to walk into and see the variety we have," he said.
Wilkes said many of the items the market is carrying now are new to the area.
The North End Market has been a city staple since 1948, starting as a trolly car where produce was sold. The market has been catering to the area's liquor and wine needs since 1990.
Wilkes said they wanted to retain its meat market, noting the fame and popularity of Butch's quality meats, but he decided to retire. Wilkes said the market still carries meat salads, cheese and dairy products.
"We also still carry juice and mixers for drinks," Hupp said.