The P.E.I. Liquor Commission wants to open a new liquor agency store on the Charlottetown waterfront that will showcase only products made in Prince Edward Island.
The commission wants to take advantage of the tourist traffic in this area, especially with the increase in cruise ship visitation to the Charlottetown marina.
“There’s a major opportunity with such an influx of visitation based on the cruise ships down at the waterfront area,” said Tourism Minister Robert Henderson in an interview with The Guardian Tuesday.
“Many cruise ship passengers like to sample local products and have an opportunity to buy local crafts. In this particular case, we are going to have an agency store model that only sells Island products.”
Henderson said the celebration zone for the 2014 festivities on the waterfront is also expected see an increased tourism presence in the area.
But the main driver for the new store is the recent boom in cruise ship traffic, which this year is expected to bring more than 100,000 visitors to the city.
“For our wineries, our breweries and our distilleries on the Island, this is another opportunity to allow them greater access to this market,” Henderson said.
The P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission (PEILCC) has issued a request for proposals for the agency store, which will see a private operator selling P.E.I. alcohol products under provincial regulations.
The RFP stipulates the new store must be located south of Water Street – an area that currently contains a boardwalk around the marina and a number of restaurants and boutique stores.
Applicants must meet strict guidelines of accessibility, and issues such as interior and exterior appearance, hours of operation and financial performance will be key factors in determining the successful applicant.
Retail and warehouse space will also be a key consideration.
The successful operator will receive a 15 per cent commission rate on all purchases up to $250,000, excluding HST and bottle deposits, and another six per cent on purchases over $250,000.
The contract will be awarded for a five-year term, with a provision for renewal for a further five years.
Henderson said this is one of several initiatives he has been championing to help promote the sale of more P.E.I.-made wine, beer and spirits.
“Everything is to try to grow this industry and give it some strength and stability,” he said.
“We know we have some decent products there and this is hopefully another way to promote those products, sustain jobs and create employment across the province.”
Proposals are being accepted until March 28. The new agency store will be open from May 1st to Oct. 31.