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Interim manager takes reins at Hwy 10 Liquor in Verndale

Gary Rosenthal recently took over as the interim manager for the U.S. Highway 10 location of Verndale municipal liquors.

Gary Rosenthal has been put in charge of the Verndale municipal liquor store on U.S. Highway 10 inside Bullseye Bar and Grill's building, with hopes of turning the struggling location around to profitability.

"I approached the council," he said. "I said, 'Give me a shot.'"

Rosenthal, an employee who has worked at the location since it opened in March 2008, pitched an idea of heavy promotion and community ownership of the store. The council had been talking about closing the store.

"My short term goal is to get the city of Verndale to take ownership," he said. "I want to make this store an asset to the community -- not a detriment."

Rosenthal will create a series of promotions to encourage locals to shop at the store, and also has plans to bring in more Wadena customers. He said fun things like giving a discount on everything in the store that's in a green bottle or green packaging for St. Patrick's Day will create some excitement and remind people to shop there.

The downtown on- and off-sale liquor store is still running and under the leadership of Liquor Store Manager Linda Forcier, Rosenthal said. The two locations will have the same prices on products.

Rosenthal said he plans to do a lot more cross-promotion with the Bullseye, such as stocking and discounting wines that the restaurant features.

There are new hours to cut costs at the store: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Rosenthal said he knows the profit margins need to improve for the store to be viable in the long term, but in the short run, he needs more foot traffic.

"Right now I just want to get customers in the door," he said. "Let's make a profit first. Then we tweak the program and start working on the profit margins."

Rosenthal said he also plans to work with the rest of the Verndale business community to promote local shopping.