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Liquor store owner plans to open third store in Deerfield

— The owner of The Wine Rack in Greenfield and Jay K’s Liquor and Wine in Turners Falls plans to to open a third liquor store, this time in Deerfield.

Melissa Winters has purchased the Keg ’n Kork Package Store at 729 Greenfield Road. She plans to change the name to Deerfield River Liquors and expand the wine and beer selection.

Near the Greenfield town line, Keg ’n Kork was owned by Neil Johnson.

Before Winters officially takes over the 1,100-square-foot, one-story shop, she needs the selectmen to transfer the package store liquor license. The selectmen will hold a public hearing on the application on Feb. 13 at 6:45 p.m. in the town offices.

If the selectmen approve the transfer, the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission must ratify the change, a process that could take several months.

Winters hopes to open her Deerfield River Liquors in April. In the meantime, Keg ’n Kork will continue to operate normally with Johnson as license holder.

Winters has worked in the liquor industry for many years.

She has owned The Wine Rack on Main Street in Greenfield for seven years. Two years ago, she opened Jay K’s Liquor and Wine on Avenue A in Turners Falls.

Before that, she worked at the Spirit Shoppe in South Deerfield and at Fitzwilly’s Restaurant in Northampton.

If granted the liquor license, Winters plans to run the three stores initially on her own. As time goes on, Winters may hire a manager for Jay K’s.

Winters plans to expand the selection of beer and wine at Deerfield River Liquors. Part of the process is discovering her customers’ tastes. “We’ll have to see what sells,” Winters said. “I like to talk to customers to see what they’re looking for.” Winters decided to open a third store after state law changed allowing a business owner to own up to five liquor stores.

“With that in mind, we have to set ourselves up to compete with larger chain stores that will come to Massachusetts,” Winters said.

In 2016, the number of licenses a person can hold increases to seven.

The number of licenses cities and towns hold is based on population.

In Deerfield, there are 14 on-premise pouring licenses and five wine and malt on-premise licenses for bars and restaurants. It has two all-alcoholic package stores and five wine and malt package stores.

There are currently 10 onpremise all-alcoholic licenses issued in town, two alcoholic package stores and four wine and malt package stores.

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