New owner of Hillsdale Liquor adds beer and wine to store

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - The Hillsdale Liquor store opened 63 years ago. Lake Oswego resident Bruce Randall recently purchased the business. The Hillsdale Liquor store opened 63 years ago, but if you haven’t been there in the last four months, you might not recognize it now. At least according to Bruce Randall, of Lake Oswego, the store’s new owner.

When he took ownership in August, Randall said, “The store was very small; it was less than a thousand square feet.”

Since then, in an effort to make it more customer-friendly, Randall has added new lighting and increased the retail space by about 50 percent.

“We want it to be more female-friendly. We want you to be able to feel comfortable coming in here. We want to be able to showcase our assortment, and we want it to be happy,” Randall said.

The store itself is not all that has expanded, so have the store’s offerings.

“We’ve added beer and wine into our store” Randall said. “The way we do it in Oregon is that most grocery stores were allowed the distribution of beer and wine through private channels but the state distributes the hard alcohol, what we refer to as distilled spirits. Not in the history of the OLCC have the two come together very frequently ... this is really a first for a suburban Southwest Portland store.”

Randall, who worked at Meier and Frank and Macy’s for morethan 30 years, said Oregon’s liquor store business model appealed to him.

“The state owns the liquor, and because of that, there really are few limitations to the breadth of assortment that we can offer. If I had to open a liquor store and buy all of this product privately, that’s a tremendous investment,” he said. “We have over 1,400 items in store. To have that many in your first two months ... would not (otherwise) be typical.”

Though the liquor is state-owned, much of the store’s inventory is uniquely Hillsdale.

“We have gluten-free products. We have kosher products that are important to our customers,” Randall said. “We do special orders ... it’s what makes it fun and we enjoy it.”

Randall has also enjoyed getting the chance to learn from the store’s expanded clientele.

“Customers teach me quite a bit,” he said. “I had a customer that was really interested in French Bordeaux, and he was sharing information with me about the ones that we had in our assortment. I had always been a pretty simple beer consumer, and now with all the different ales and hard ciders and porters and hefeweizens, there’s a lot to learn about the beer world.”

Randall attributes the overwhelming popularity of the store so far to the work of Hillsdale Main Street, which has reconfigured the parking lot and landscaping and is working on signing improvements. In addition to owning the store, Randall and his wife work there daily, managing a staff of five employees. Though they live in Lake Oswego, the Randalls are happy to endure a 15-minute commute if it means keeping Hillsdale Liquor in Hillsdale.”

Hillsdale Liquor is located at 6327-D SW Capitol Highway at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard. It’s open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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