Liquor store expands

Posted on June 29th in Feature Story

Move allows for more square footage, inventory

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Owners Bob and Sonja McDannel are excited to offer a greater variety of mixers, beer and high-end liquors as well as snacks. (Photos by RANDY PARKS)

A good businessman knows an opportunity when he sees one.

After operating the Burns-Hines Liquor Store for more than eight years in an adequate, but cramped, space in the Ponderosa Village, owners Bob and Sonja McDannel saw an opportunity when a space just a couple of doors down became vacant.

Being able to envision the possibilities, the McDannels made the move into the larger space and the result has been pretty much a complete transformation.

The inventory has been expanded to include a wide variety of mixers, beer, high-end liquors, cigarettes, cigars, snacks and an exclusive wine selection. “We’ll carry what people in Harney County want,” McDannel said. “If we don’t have it, all they have to do is ask for it and we’ll get it if we can.”

The expansion has meant adding two more employees, including store manager Toni Ford. “She’s in charge,” laughed McDannel. “I’ll just pop in every now and then to see how things are going.”

Toni Ford, the Burns-Hines Liquor Store manager stands in front of the business’ new selection of wines.

Ford brings expertise to the store’s wine selection, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Ford said she grew up in wine country in the Sierra Nevada foothills, worked in a wine tasting room while in college and continued her education serving fine wines in the restaurant industry.

Using the knowledge she has gained, Ford has put together a wine selection she hopes will appeal to everyone, and to everyone’s budget.

Ford said there are plans to hold monthly wine tasting events to introduce new wines and what foods go well with them. “Wine and food go together and this is a chance for people to experience that,” Ford said. “It’s also fun for people who are willing to try new wines.”

In addition, the store will have a bulletin board posting featured wines and recipe ideas to go along with them.

Ford is also working with 90+ Wines in Burns to form a Wine Appreciation Club, which would not be affiliated with the businesses, but rather  private gatherings for wine aficionados.

Both McDannel and Ford stressed that the wine selection was made with the attempt to not duplicate what was already available in town. “We have labels that people probably haven’t heard of, including New World wines from South America and high-quality Northwest wines,” Ford said. “We want to enhance the wine selection in the community, and if we don’t have what someone is looking for, we can recommend other businesses, like 90+ Wines, that might have it.”

McDannel stated that with the larger inventory, he hopes people will view the store as a one-stop shopping place.

As another convenience, the store has expanded hours, open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

“We moved because we wanted to improve the business,” McDannel said. It would appear the mission was accomplished.

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