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If you build it, they will drink it?

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The Verndale City Council is hoping increased signage will improve sales at the Highway 10 off-sale liquor store.

J&H Signs and Designs of Perham will create the sign for $4,607.78 with electrical costs of $950 from Platinum Electric. The sign will be located on the Bullseye Bar & Grill lot.

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"I think we need to do it, but it has got a long way to recover to get sales up to where we're breaking even," Councilman Bruce Koppenhaver said. "But without the sign it doesn't have a chance."

By looking at the past four months of receipts and expenditures it appears the city is putting more money into the store than what it is recording as sales, he said.

Councilman Jim Ackerson expressed some concern about spending money on the off-sale site right now because of the store's financial situation.

Manager Linda Forcier said the off-sale site is doing OK. The store made well above what it did last April, she said. The signage should have been done last year and should be thought of as part of the store's start-up cost, she said. People don't know the store is there. Forcier gave an example of an Aldrich woman who drives past Verndale morning and evening five days a week who didn't know the store was there until a coworker suggested it for her wedding.

"That's the biggest problem is there's no signage out there," Forcier said.

Ackerson acknowledged that signage is a big factor.

"I think we should give the sign a chance and see if volume increases over there," he said.

The off-sale liquor store opened last April next to Bullseye Bar & Grill.

Councilman Louie Randall asked if there was any way the city could break its contract for the store.

Koppenhaver didn't recommend doing that due to costs associated with breaking a contract and the damage it would do to the city's reputation. One of the reasons the city made the investment to start the off-sale site was to encourage investment in the community and to help Bullseye get started, he said.

"We wouldn't be doing the Bullseye any favors by doing that," he said about breaking the contract. "And we wouldn't be doing our reputation of doing business with us any favors by doing that."

The council unanimously voted to approve the sign and associated costs.

"Let's get her up and running for summer traffic," Mayor Ardith Carr said.

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