At a favorite Morningside Heights liquor store, an extra hour on weekend nights has met with students’ approval, but it’s not raking in that much more money yet.
International Wine & Spirits, on Broadway near 113th Street, decided a month ago to keep its doors open another hour on Friday and Saturday nights, closing not at 11 p.m. but at midnight. The express purpose was to give students “an opportunity to buy up to midnight,” manager Victor Hiraldo said, after which it is illegal for liquor stores to be open.
But while Columbia students have been the primary clients after 11 p.m., revenues have varied wildly during the additional hour—anywhere between $300 and $900.
“It’s a little unpredictable,” Hiraldo said. “Not too many people know about it. Sometimes we do good, sometimes we just do OK.”
The store has been posting much stronger sales earlier in the evening. “We could sell $1,000 an hour or we could sell $2,000, we could sell $3,000,” Hiraldo said. “It all depends on the time and the date.”
Hiraldo thinks sales will increase as more customers become aware of the change. Those customers who have come into the store after 11 have been pleased, he said. “I hear some people say, ‘Wow, it was about time you guys stay open until midnight.’ You know? Many people are happy with it,” he said.
Though an hour may not be much time, students said they were pleased that the closest liquor store to most Columbia and Barnard dormitories had extended its window on the weekend nights.
“It makes a lot of sense, especially considering that most people pregame and go out relatively late to the bars,” Nina Balac, CC ’15, said outside International on Friday. “It’s really convenient for students to buy alcohol later at night.”
Erin O’Neill, CC ’15, agreed that the additional hour has allowed students to purchase hard liquor at a time of day when their options, save going to a bar, are few.
“If you’re the type who plans in advance, then you don’t run into that problem,” O’Neill said. “Sometimes you want to be spontaneous and if you don’t have the supplies you need, it kind of ruins things.”
For David Gross, GS ’16, who was purchasing sake at International on Friday, later hours makes International “more accessible because student activities end so late at night. It doesn’t become a conflict of, ‘Hey, I need to do something now or duck into the liquor store,’” he said.