By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Things are looking a bit different these days at Keizer Liquor Store.
The store, located at 3530 River Road N, is under new ownership, has expanded hours and is bigger.
“I just purchased the store in January,” said new owner Oliver Coker, who took over the store from retired owner Nora Nelson, who ran the business for 30 years.
While new to Keizer, Coker is familiar with the industry.
“I’ve been a liquor store owner in Woodburn for seven years,” said Coker, 40. “Nora retired so the opportunity for a second store came up. I was appointed by the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) to run it. It’s a great opportunity to take what we learned in Woodburn and duplicate it here in Keizer.”
Coker, who is running the store along with wife Christy, worked with Nelson during her last two weeks to get familiar with the store, its customers and the needs.
“It was up to me to figure out the traffic flow and what changes to make,” Coker said. “After January 15 I knew what I wanted to do. Nora has been a great person to bounce ideas off of.”
One change was the hours, which used to be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The hours have been expanded to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Of note, the store is now open on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The new hours were customer driven,” Coker said. “They wanted longer hours. The biggest change is being open on Sundays. That change has been very well received. Feedback has been 99 percent positive about that.”
Coker expanded the store about 250 linear square feet, allowing for another table in the middle and two new sections along the back wall. The store now sells cigars and has expanded the Made in Oregon section as well as mixers.
“The store is now a little more open and customer friendly,” he said. “It’s a more pleasant experience for customers.”
Coker has enjoyed the reaction from customers so far.
“It’s been great,” he said. “It’s been very positive. This is a great community. The changes have been well accepted by the community. I really have nothing negative to say. It’s been a very positive experience. A lot of people have welcomed me to the community.”
With his experience running the store in Woodburn, Coker had an idea of how to run his new business in Keizer.
“Pretty much we tried to duplicate what we did over there,” he said. “It’s probably early to tell, but the first month has been pretty good for us.”