With the effects of coronavirus taking a toll on many county businesses, one industry is keeping in high spirits.
Liquor sales in the county throughout April 2020, while the governors stay-at-home order was in full affect, were higher than they were the previous year.
Idaho Liquor Division Deputy Director for Finance and and Human resources, Tony Faraca, said that the liquor division noticed an increase in sales in March at the start of the pandemic.
“In March when we had some of the first diagnosis, a lot of people started pantry loading,” Mr. Faraca said. “We think that a lot of the reports by the media about closures made people think that liquor stores would close too.”
He said that the state saw a 26 percent increase in liquor sales in March. Mr. Faraca said that in April the state as a whole only saw a 10 percent increase in liquor sales.
Mr. Faraca said that for Benewah County, April was a busy month.
St. Maries alone jumped 23.5 percent over April 2019’s sales. The liquor store on Main Avenue brought in $82,671 in sales compared to last year’s $66,956.
The city of Plummer also saw a significant increase in liquor sales as well. Mr. Faraca said that it might be due to how close the city is to the Washington/Idaho border.
“Plummer’s numbers in April are even more dramatic with a 69 percent increase over last year,” Mr. Faraca said. “There is definitely a Washington factor going on there.”
Plummer’s liquor store brought in $45,233, last April the store only sold $26,715 worth of liqour. Mr. Faraca said that oddly enough Worley saw a decrease in sales during the month of April. He thinks it might be due to the Coeur d’Alene Casino closing its doors throughout April.
“I think a lot of people were going to the liquor store in Plummer instead,” Mr. Faraca said.
Mr. Faraca also said that Fernwood’s liquor store saw a significant increase in sales. The liquor store, located inside of the Fernwood Mercantile, made $11,503 over last April’s $7,897 for a 45 percent increase in sales.
“I’m not too sure what would cause the sales in Fernwood to go up so much,” Mr. Faraca. “Maybe the residents make fewer trips into town so they stock up when they do visit.”
Mr. Faraca noted that other small towns in the state have seen the same kinds of increases in the month of April. He said a lot of towns close to the Washington border saw increases due to out of state visitors coming to Idaho for recreation.
For more information on liquor sales, visit the Idaho State Liqour Division Website at liquor.idaho.gov or call 208-947-9400.