Dinkytown liquor store gears up for massive expansion

Irv Hershkovitz is starting the long process of expanding Dinkytown Wine and Spirits.

Dinkytown Wine & Spirits owner Irv Hershkovitz talks about the store expansion plan Saturday at Dinkytown. The construction is expected to begin in May and the store will re-open in July.

Anthony Kwan

Dinkytown Wine & Spirits owner Irv Hershkovitz talks about the store expansion plan Saturday at Dinkytown. The construction is expected to begin in May and the store will re-open in July.

by Kevin Burbach

Irv Hershkovitz stood at the base of a towering mountain of Keystone and Busch Light âÄî his monument to the much-needed expansion of his 22-year-old liquor store, Dinkytown Wine and Spirits.

The expansion was originally supposed to be completed this fall, Hershkovitz previously told the Minnesota Daily. But he said Saturday that he didnâÄôt realize the amount of time and deliberation it would take to complete the project.

The delayed project will add a 2,000 square-foot warehouse and expand the customer floor from its current 1,800 square feet to at least 4,000 square feet. Construction wonâÄôt begin until May and will finish in September 2012 at the earliest.

âÄúYou know, a dreamer like me, I came up with the idea and just kind of hoped it could just get done right away,âÄù Hershkovitz said.

Nearly-finalized blueprints show that Hershkovitz will add a warehouse on the 15th Avenue side of the currently 6,000 square-foot building.

The building conceals its storage problem well, but one look behind the scenes shows four rooms crammed with beer, wine and liquor and a basement thatâÄôs full to the brim. The empty space next door that was once Subway houses stacks upon stacks of beer that rise up to the ceiling, with little room left to walk.

âÄúEvery single nook and cranny of the store is filled,âÄù Hershkovitz said.

The new warehouse will hold the storeâÄôs entire inventory, which will open up more than 2,000 square feet of sales floor space.

Phillip Broussard, the architect for the expansion, said he plans to remove most of the existing ceiling to give the space a more âÄúopen airâÄù feeling. The expansion will also add a mezzanine for office space.

âÄúThe shelving space will triple,âÄù Hershkovitz said, âÄúalong with the vodka selection.âÄù

The extra space will also allow Hershkovitz to stock more specialty beer, which he said is growing in popularity with students.

Months of politics

Hershkovitz will bring his plans for the expansion to the city for the first time Wednesday. Minneapolis senior city planner Janelle Widmeier said Hershkovitz will need to bring his plans to the cityâÄôs Zoning and Planning Committee in order to get approval for his site plan.

Once approved by the city, Hershkovitz must amend his liquor license to fit the expansion.

The process usually takes about two months altogether, Widmeier said.

Should it be approved, Hershkovitz will work with the cityâÄôs Regulatory Services for a building permit, a process Widmeier said could take another few weeks.

Along with working with the city, Hershkovitz will need to talk to the Dinkytown Business Association as well as the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association about his expansion to get the groupsâÄô approval.

Dinkytown Business Association president Skott Johnson said he will look at HershkovitzâÄôs plans later this week but didnâÄôt expect many complications.

âÄúIrv has always been a great businessman to have in the community,âÄù he said. âÄúNormally with a liquor store we might be more concerned, but people use Irv as a model for how other liquor stores should run, so weâÄôre not worried.âÄù

Hershkovitz said he hadnâÄôt finished bidding with contractors, so he didnâÄôt yet have a cost estimate.

He said he hopes the store will remain open during construction, with a possible one-week closure in July.