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The opening ceremony was attended by Mayor Wisdom and a few VIP's, the land developer, contractor and architect and a few friends and family who gathered to officially open the new liquor store. You'd think with record profits of a quarter billion dollars they could have thrown a bit better party! They were passing out small plastic glasses of some rather cheap wine called Monkey Gonch or something and a red wine that would have been a good substitue for CLR! And I'm sorry but grabbing a few boxes of frozen entrees from the IGA across the street hardly can be considered friendly finger foods! Either the SAQ is real cheap on their budget for parties or someone decided to substitute the good stuff for their own wine cellars and instead serve up the boxed rotgut to the guests!
The new government liquor outlet is housed in a brand new building with a Victorian sensibility to go with the theme of Knowlton and the colors of the new building reflect a charm that seems to represents both the SAQ corporate brand as well as the modern approach at looking historical that Knowlton seems to want to present.
The newly constructed building fits in perfectly to the "new look" of Knowlton and the builders should be congratulated for building a "nouveau-classic" structure that is tasteful, chic and modern yet still keeps a historical and cozy small-town sensibility. The colors are beautiful and it harmonizes nicely with the IGA across the street and the Brome Lake Center a few blocks away! Developers should take these project as lesson in how Knowlton should look when they do their building; some projects in and around Lac Brome look as if they were designed in a vacuum of aesthetics but this new SAQ hits the bulls eye of good taste!
The old SAQ was in a run-down eye-sore that looked like some sort of slum mini-mall, which used to house the old IGA and the video rental store. Ever since the IGA moved out of the building next door to build their new facility last year the parking lot has been virtually deserted. The video and DVD rental store is still there, the sole remaining tenant in the grey, beat-up worn-out building, but now with the SAQ officially moved into their new home many people are hoping something will happen to the property and fast.
Apparently the old IGA building was going to be turned into a new pharmacy but why in the heck would a drugstore company want to move into that poorly built, poorly insulated, decrepit old building? Isn't the fact that there is a glut of falling apart, run-down places for sale and rent in Lac Brome proof that no-one is interested in investing in someone else's hand-me-downs? If you a corporate entity with a strong and vibrant brand like a PharmaPrix or a Jean Coutu (or a Starbucks or a Urban Outfitters or a Archambault or a Burger King or a Winners or a Future Shop for that matter) would want to move into a dump like that old IGA building? Wouldn't you prefer to have a modern new building to move in to without the expense of renovation and retro-fitting unless it was in a very busy, up and coming neighborhood that had a positive demographic outlook with a potential for profit and growth?
Hmmm...does Knowlton even have that? The opening of the SAQ says "maybe".
The SAQ obviously did the right thing by having a brand new building designed and built especially for them, and it looks like more proof that Knowlton may be seeing a shift of positivity. Heck...if the SAQ has entered into a long-term promise to stay in Knowlton then surely there must be good things on the horizon because if the Government feels that the tiny little village of Knowlton is a feasible place to erect a profitable booze outlet, even though there is one in Cowansville, they must have inside information to the future financial trend inherent in our little kingdom!
So what's next for Knowlton's new commercial hot-spot? There is lots of prime real-estate available and the new SAQ will hopefully entice some good tax-paying tenants into Lac Brome to help improve our quality of life. It does look like Cowansville will remain the most popular shopping destination of choice for many Lac Brome residents, as they practically have erected a shopping mecca at the intersection of highway 104 and highway 202, but at least we can go buy our overpriced wine locally now in a nice plush ambiance.
Recent business reports talked about the new SAQ direction which included touches like tasting areas, lounges with comfy chairs, and more modern surroundings. It looks like this new SAQ is one of the new breed of Société des alcools du Québec ; while not quite as funky as Starbucks it sure the heck beats the look of the old liquor store with it's "Point St. Charles Depanneur" feel!
In recent years the SAQ has come under criticism for opening too many stores too quickly and their profits took a hit; with the recent scandals of overpricing, price fixing and some odd Brittney-esque behavior from the heads of the government operated monopoly the SAQ have recently been forced to start closing non-profitable stores in order to get back to the huge reaping of outlandish profits. A huge sigh of relief was heard over the region as the SAQ decided to continue operations in the small market of Lac Brome and give us all a little more of a reason to stay a bit longer!
Not only is the new liquor store as cute as a button but more importantly it's much larger and so it holds so much more booze!! That alone is reason enough to put a "Thank-you to Saint Jude" notice in the Brome County News!! Cheers!
The new SAQ is open for business and there is supposed to be a "grand opening" wine and cheese on November 29th from 5 to 7 pm. Knowlton Société des alcools du Québec is across from the IGA.