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Dec 31, 2012 12:18 PM

LCBO Express

As I'm sure you've all heard by now, over the next year the LCBO will be opening kiosks within grocery stores in areas underserved by the LCBO. Now I'm sure they're putting all kinds of market research into the selection, but I thought it might be fun to have our say. Who knows? Maybe someone's listening.

I vote for Highland Farms, 850 Ellesmere Rd @ Kennedy. It's essentially in the middle of nothing unless you want furniture and electronics to go with your bread. How great would it be to pick-up the right bottle to go with their Italian foods or AAA meat?

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  1. Well, don't hold your breath for Rabba's or any other 24/7 supermarket. The LCBO Express will be staffed by union members, and they will require overtime for Sunday and late shifts.

    1 Reply
    1. And I expect they won't be anywhere near Toronto. We are hardly underserved.

      7 Replies
      1. re: crawfish

        It's a total non-news item that will not benefit 99.9% of the population. What Ontarians really want is Beer, Wine & Liquor sold everywhere, just like in the US, Australia and pretty well every civilized nation on earth!

        1. re: Flexitarian

          Right on. This is obviously their move to avoid privatising the sale of alcohol.

          1. re: mexivilla

            And it benefits that portion of the population where the Conservatives have a stronghold

            1. re: dubchild

              I think that it's rather a genius compromise move by the provincial Liberal government - doesn't go as far as Hudak's conservatives would, but placates the NDP, which want to preserve gov't/union jobs. I don't see how it would benefit "that portion of the population where the Conservatives have a stronghold" though.

              I would be interested in seeing how it affects the wineries that currently operate kiosks in grocery stores. My Conservative riding has a winery & 2 breweries that sell product, a grocery kiosk, 2 LCBOs (one is being replaced by a modernized, bigger one) and 2 beer stores, so we won't likely see one. But it has to be a market that is big enough to succeed, so I wouldn't count Toronto out.

              1. re: badrockandroll

                The way I understood the addition of LCBO kiosks, and maybe I'm wrong, is that it will be in remote communities. Toronto will not see any.

                1. re: dubchild

                  The way liquor is sold only by the LCBO in Toronto (except for a few wine kiosks), I feel I am in a remote community.

                  1. re: dubchild

                    I didn't think that it was "remote", I thought that it was "suburban and rural communities" that would be selected for the pilot project. I guess it's all in how you define "remote" - since I now live in a rural community, I now think of airplane access as remote!

        2. Holy cow, what a bunch of pessimists!

          Of course it'll have to work structurally for the LCBO and their employees. Of course they won't make the 24 hour leap any time soon. And yes, they want to avoid privatization. I'm not exactly for or against that one. It'd cost a massive amount of jobs and decrease the security of the stores selling alcohol. Then again, a 5 minute dash to my convenience store for wine would be nice.

          However, to say that all of Toronto is adequately served only means you must live or work near one. There are plenty of us (hand up here) that are frustrated by the added time and mileage required when you want a good bottle. If I have to line up with Conservatives, so be it.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Googs

            how far do all of us actually live from an lcbo store? i google mapped it and it would seem that nobody in Toronto lives more than 1.25 miles from a store...i have 4 stores within mile of where i live and 4 within an 8 block area of where i work. i've lived in small towns (erin and acton) and places like brampton and mississauga (small town mentality) where we drive to get everywhere...but the lcbo store was really within walking distance-we were just too lazy.

            1. re: ingloriouseater

              I'm gonna guess you mean km's, not miles. In any case, the west end is far, far different from the east.

              I have one LCBO near where I live. It's the same one I would consider near my work. It's so far removed from a grocery store its wholly inconvenient to go there. So I don't most of the time. I think that's what they mean by underserved. When they lose clients and potential clients. They're not doing it because they're nice guys.

              Is there anyone else out there who thinks their local grocery store deserves a kiosk? Anyone who feels overlooked and underserved by the LCBO?

              1. re: Googs

                Anyone who feels overlooked and underserved by the LCBO?

                ^^^ Certainly underserved, but not because of location.

                Better selection and prices at Premier in Buffalo, but I recognize that is wholly a different issue.

                Having an LCBO kiosk in my grocery store(s) would make no difference to me. I live and work in close proximity to many stores.

                1. re: CocoaChanel

                  Probably not the place to get into a discussion about the merits of the LCBO, but the fact is their hours are limited, their selection is limited and they are poorly managed from a profit point of view.

                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    any corner store is not going to have any kind of selection to speak will be a couple of this and a couple of that and of whatever sells. anyone who thinks that they will get a large lcbo type selection in a corner store (or an american style store on their corner) is out to lunch. think of how big your corner store is and then think of what they will remove to make room for the inventory required (and the low margins the govt will set like lottery tickets) and the math doesn't add up. it will be a very small selection indeed.

                2. re: Googs

                  Googs, I think by underserved they're looking more rural, not where you're talking 1 to 3 kms between stores, but 50 to 100kms. I posted it in the direct reply, but LCBO already has agency stores scattered across the province (in my parents town you can pick up wine at the gas station).

                  1. re: kbdid

                    That's quite possible kbdid. This was meant more as a fun exercise for those who feel their grocery store should have a kiosk. After all, who knows your neighbourhood better than you and your neighbours do?

                    At this time, Loblaws has head and shoulders advantage over all other grocers since they've been clever enough to open multiple locations with a liquor or beer store inside the same building. No one balked at there being yet another LCBO inside the Queen's Quay Loblaws despite the Cooper St store being less than 300m away!

                    I remain ever hopeful. Go Highland Farms!!!

                    1. re: Googs

                      sorry for being too serious - minded....our local Loblaws has a Wine Rack (which of course offers little choice but is better than nothing for last-minute table wine and they seem to be trying a little harder these days). I'd throw a kiosk in my Junction No Frills.just 'cause.

                      Really they should allow beer/wine in grocers in general and let the LCBO continue to monopolize hard spirits....LCBO has too much control in prohibiting varieties/brands of wine etc.

            2. This will likely benefit small towns - some of which already have small outlets (see

              They were really researching this past summer - taking postal codes etc - and in one little town the explanation given was exactly this (kiosks).

              4 Replies
              1. re: kbdid

                I live "down the hill" from the Amberley General Store, the 4th on that list. It is nice to know you can get beer or rye if someone stops by, but the selection is, to put it mildly, poor. I think there's a 4 foot section of three shelves, plus a closet sized walk in fridge with beer. If you want something specific, you still have to truck into town. I certainly do not blame the store owners; they don't have room to stock everything. It is a true general store; you can buy shovels, fireworks, mousetraps, Kraft Dinner, rope, sunscreen and, of course, tags for your garbage bags. But if "small selection kiosks" is the solution the gov't is proposing, it won't make anyone in rural areas thrilled. Somewhat happier, yes, but not thrilled.

                1. re: Blush

                  ahhh, kraft dinner, beer and's like university all over again

                  1. re: Blush

                    There are times when the LCBO is backed up down the lane to Broadway - usually before a long weekend. Then it's faster to schlep up to Tiverton or down to Amberley. Even with the round trip it's faster.

                    You're right about that store though. It's amazing. I think of Dr. Who's Tardis whenever I enter.

                    1. re: DockPotato

                      We just moved here (Point Clark) last November and were prepared for a bad winter, which never happened. I have a feeling I will be very grateful for that store when Hwy 21 is inevitably closed for a good chunk of time.

                      And we've already learned that in the summer it's better to just avoid Kincardine completely on weekends, if at all possible. We are lucky that my husband works shift and can usually get groceries etc mid-day during the week.

                      The new LCBO in Goderich is quite nice, too. I wonder how long it will be before they have to add a traffic light to that entrance?

                2. Having lived in Quebec for a decade, where almost every local d├ępanneur/corner store sells wine, I can say I hardly ever went to the local store ... they typically stocked the cheapest sellers that I wouldn't drink even if I had nothing stocked at home. I had a similar experience this past summer in Ontario cottage country, where the convenience store in town has an LCBO section ... terrible selection! For these reasons I have never believed that more accessibility is the issue for me living in the middle of TO ... now being able to import one's own wines without the province relieving me of one of my bottle's for testing (and a little relief on tax and duty would be great too) ... that would be much preferred.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CocoTO

                    I agree 100%, CocoTO! There's a reason they call them "depanneur wines". I am perfectly happy with the LCBO. I don't want to give up the revenue, the selection or the security.