Ocean City Today

County approves bid, backup for Shore Spirits

Two offers by same parties accepted for liquor store on Ocean Gateway in West OC
By Brian Gilliland | May 18, 2017

(May 19, 2017) The partnership of Ankur and Kailas Patel submitted two bids for the Shore Stop liquor store — as the county continues the process of divesting itself of wholesale and retail liquor distribution — with one accepted as the primary offer and the other as the backup plan.

The top bid is for about $550,000, which includes almost $63,000 for the purchase of assets and a 40 percent markup on the inventory currently valued at about $255,000. The markup would bring the cost of inventory up to about $357,000. This offer is contingent on the continuation of the 10-year lease signed by the county in February 2013.

Their second bid removed the contingency obligation to the landlord, but also moved some other numbers around. The second bid includes the rent due under the current lease, a total of $130,500 plus a premium to the county of $100 per month. It offers $50,000 for the purchase of assets and a markup of 25 percent on the inventory, which comes to about $318,000, for a grand total of just over $500,000.

As part of both bids, the county commissioners agree to accept, approve and support the buyers’ application for a Class A liquor license and grants permission for the request to be heard at the June 21 meeting of the Board of License Commissioners.

According to the bid documents, Ankur and his wife, Asmitaben, operate the Friendship Food Mart about one-quarter of a mile from Shore Spirits.

If Ankur and Kailas Patel are not able to secure a liquor license or their funding dries up, county staff recommended a bid by Ashwin Patel, who county documents say is also under contract to purchase the Worcester Plaza Shopping Center, where the Shore Spirits store is located. As part of his bid, Ashwin agreed to relieve the county of its lease agreement immediately upon settlement, and agreed to pay a little more than $485,000 for the store and its contents.

Ashwin also has more experience in the market that the other parties, as he owns and operates liquor stores in Smyrna and Rehoboth Beach.

The county formally adopted an exit strategy at the end of 2015 to divest itself of the wholesale liquor operations by July 1, 2017. At the time, the county estimated it would lose between $1 and $2 million on the effort, though the former head of the department thought that amount couple double or triple.

The county’s other retail liquor location, Shore Spirits in Pocomoke City, sold for $1.175 million to Kalpesh Patel of Berlin.

Audited figures on the profit or loss in selling off county assets and shuttering the department are expected by the end of the year.


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