An independent bottle shop that cheerfully served a local community for more than a decade has shut its doors for good just days after Dan Murphy’s moved in down the road.
The quaint neighbourhood shop at Blackwood Street, Mitchelton, in Brisbane‘s north, is just the latest to go under as one of Australia’s retail giants sets up in town.
The Liquor Stax-branded store closed its doors on March 1 – just five days after Dan Murphy’s at Brookside opened on February 24 – as part of the redevelopment of the Brook Hotel, which also offers a drive-thru and pokies.
A closing down sale for the tiny bottle-o was held on the day Dan Murphy’s opened as they tried to offload their stock at a discount. Nearby independently-run pub, The Woods, is likewise now battling to remain open.
The closure prompted residents who have been loyal customers for years to express their disappointment on social media.
‘I would much rather stop in at Blackwood Street than go to the big-dog. Thanks so much for all the laughs and friendly service over the years,’ one disappointed local wrote.
‘Oh that’s sad,’ another lamented.
Independent neighbourhood bottle shop Liquor Stax at Mitchelton in Brisbane’s north has closed down just a few days after Dan Murphy’s moved in down the road
Small locally-run businesses staring down worker shortages and supply-chain issues are vanishing as big box retail stores like Dan Murphy’s and its ‘lowest price guarantee’ spread across the country (file image)
Residents said they would miss the ‘laughs and friendly service’ provided when they popped into the local business over the years
The empty tenancy – just a three minute drive from the new Dan Murphy’s – popped up on the Raine & Horne real estate site this week.
‘Long-term owners seek the next quality tenant and will consider all serious offers,’ it said.
‘Join a great mixture of tenants including a coffee shop, bakery, fish & chip shop and thrift store.’
The small shop was dwarfed in size by Dan Murphy’s owners, Endeavour Group. The company was formed by supermarket giant Woolworths spinning off it’s liquor assets and merging them with the hotel and pokie empire of the Bruce Mathieson Group (BMG).
Along with its 248 Dan Murphy’s stores, it also owns more than 1,200 BWS liquor stores, delivery service Jimmy Brings, Cellar Masters, Shorty’s Liquor and Pinnacle Drinks.
The group also operates about 340 pubs – including the Brook Hotel – and 12,400 pokies across the country, the third-largest gaming operator after Crown and The Star.
Alcohol sales, long considered recession-proof, are expected to rise by 2.9 per cent in Australia this year with retail sales worth about $22.3billion, according to research firm Circana.
And Endeavour Group is cashing in more than anyone, selling one in every two bottle-o drinks.
According to Roy Morgan research, Endeavour does about half of all off-premises alcohol sales in Australia at an astonishing 49.2 per cent, with Dan Murphy’s and BWS leading the pack.
Its online market alone reached $1billion in sales in 2022.
Dan Murphy’s has about 248 ‘super-stores’ across Australia with owner Endeavour Group selling a mammoth 49.2 per cent of all off-premises drinks in the country
The vast mega-chain offer rows upon rows of wine, spirits and beer delivered by the company’s network of suppliers
It’s not the first time the cavernous Dan Murphy’s stores have caused a stir with locals.
Not long ago the company scrapped its Dan Murphy’s megastore development in Darwin – near three NT dry communities – after major backlash.
At the other end of Australia, locals in the popular weekender town of Daylesford, two hours northwest of Melbourne, held a town hall meeting in August to oppose a new Dan Murphy’s being built next to the local swimming pool, school and daycare centre.
‘There is absolutely no need for this large chain outlet to open up in town. It will destroy the local, family run businesses, chew through workers, underpay them and ruin the aesthetic of the town,’ one local wrote to social media after the meeting.
‘Seems like a David and Goliath battle, who rejects Uncle Dan?,’ another noted.
An Endeavour Group spokesperson said that development would create about 30 jobs and would be a ‘smaller store than those found in metro Melbourne’.
In Apollo Bay, along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, a proposed BWS across the road from the beach angered locals.
‘Apollo Bay doesn’t need a large alcohol company. It’s gorgeous and their Brewhouse brings people to the town,’ one person said.
But one pub is still holding out hope for the little guy.
The Woods – just a few doors away from what was once Liquor Stax in Mitchelton – is hoping to be one of the few to whether the big box tide.
The Woods neighbourhood bar and bottle shop in Mitchelton just down the street from the now closed Stax is hoping it can survive the Dan Murphy’s onslaught by offering something customers will fight to support
Owner Steven Powell said he was focused on providing a boutique experience offering little known drink styles and producers.
He has even opened a neighbourhood bar with a tucked away cocktail parlour at the back of the bottle-o.
‘It (Dan Murphy’s) will serve those who are locked into their brand… On one side of the coin is the big-box retail offer. On the other side of that coin, the much smaller side, is the independent,’ Mr Powell told The Courier Mail.
‘We work hard to deliver on an offer that is unique, diverse and relevant.’
An Endeavour Group spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that they too were focused on the local community.
‘We are committed to bringing a compelling customer experience that is locally relevant to the area,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Customers will be able to discover from a range of close to 10,000 products, including a big selection of premium wines, craft beer and craft spirits.’
‘The store will also create valuable job opportunities for locals, with the addition of 20 full-time and casual roles.’
‘All stores across the Endeavour Group network are committed to being a valued member of their local community. ‘
‘We’re passionate about local – we employ locals, work with local suppliers and curate store ranges to suit the tastes of locals, and that’s what we’ll be doing with Dan Murphy’s Mitchelton.’
HOW SUBURB LOST A FAVOURITE
2012 – Independent bottle-shop Liquor Stax moves into the leafy corner shops at Blackwood St, Mitchelton.
2012 – 2022 – Small business is popular with locals and visitors to the nearby BYO alfresco restaurant strip.
September 25, 2020 – Application lodged to redevelop nearby Brook Hotel into huge 1,550 sqm Brook Tavern and 1,360 sqm Dan Murphy’s mega-store.
February 2022 – Construction begins on Dan Murphy’s.
February 24, 2023 – Dan Murphy’s at Brookside opens.
March 1, 2023 – Liquor Stax at Mitchelton closes down.
July 2023 – Redeveloped Brook Tavern expected to open.