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Manager, wife complete purchase of Willmar, Minn., Westside Liquors and two other locations

Westside Liquors in east Willmar is located in a 20,000-square-foot former grocery store. New owner Steve Wright plans to add an event center to host private functions, among other planned changes at the store. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)1 / 2
Steve Wright is the new co-owner of Westside Liquors in Willmar. The manager of Willmar's store since its opening, he and his wife also have purchased Westside Liquors stores in Sauk Centre and Albertville. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)2 / 2

WILLMAR -- Westside Liquors of Willmar is now under local ownership.

Steve and Nancy Wright of Willmar have completed the purchase of the Westside Liquors locations in Willmar, Sauk Centre and Albertville.

Steve Wright has managed the Willmar liquor store since it opened 10 years ago.

The stores are part of a group of nine Westside Liquors liquor stores around the state owned by Bob and Linda Fueling, who still own the remaining six stores.

Wright said on Friday that they had worked on the sale for about two years.

The Wrights' stores will continue to operate under the name Westside Liquors. The name of their company is S & D Liquor Group.

Wright said he has big plans for all three stores.

In Willmar, he plans to add more businesses at the site, including an event center to host private functions. The 20,000-square-foot Willmar liquor store is located in a former grocery store at the corner of U.S. Highway 12 and Lakeland Drive Southeast.

Wright said he will use his 20 years of restaurant experience in the area to operate the event center with a full-scale restaurant and bar. It will host groups of up to 75 people.

A complete remodel is nearly finished at the 7,000-square-foot Albertville store, he said, and the front of the 1,200-square-foot Sauk Centre store has been remodeled.

Some remodeling will be done in Willmar as the other plans for the store take shape, Wright said.

Wright called himself a "customer service fanatic" and said the Willmar store will continue to provide the same service for its customers as in the past.

The shop offers 300 different beers and more than 1,000 different wines, and he hopes to be able to add to the 17 employees he already has, he said.

The store will continue to offer classes in appreciating wine, beer and scotch. Wright said he also offers tastings in homes for parties or at special events.

Advertising and promotions will continue for the store. "Now as a local owner, I can control the prices," he said. "We keep the money in this community."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340