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Montgomery Councilmember Hucker offers suggestions to improve County Liquor Control to new department director

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Montgomery Councilmember Hucker

offers suggestions to improve

County Department of Liquor Control

Councilmember proposes ideas to Robert Dorfman,

who was confirmed today as new director of DLC

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., January 31, 2017—Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker has offered a series of suggestions that could help improve the County’s Department of Liquor Control to Robert Dorfman, who was confirmed today by the County Council as the new director of the department that has been the subject of considerable study over the past two years.

In his letter to Mr. Dorfman, Councilmember Hucker wrote, “What is certain is that the DLC can make many common sense operational changes immediately—without any new State or County legislation. It is our responsibility to make the DLC the best it can be—efficient, competitive, consumer-friendly and teeming with a diverse and easily accessible inventory for both individual customers and licensees. Montgomery County consumers and businesses deserve no less.”

 

Among Councilmember Hucker’s suggestions, were for DLC to initiate a price matching program in retail stores; evaluate the feasibility of opening regional “superstores” with more shelf space for expanded selection; and open a new downcounty storage facility to deliver products swiftly to downcounty restaurants and bars.

 

 

The complete text of Councilmember Hucker’s letter:

 

Robert Dorfman

Director

Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control

201 Edison Park Drive

Gaithersburg, MD 20878

 

January 31, 2017

 

Dear Mr. Dorfman:

 

As you know, many proposed reforms to the Department of Liquor Control have been investigated and discussed at length over the past two years by the County Council, our State Delegation, and most recently the County Executive’s Liquor Control Work Group. No one knows with certainty whether the General Assembly will approve structural changes to the DLC, including the County Executive’s most recent proposal.

 

However, what is certain is that the DLC can make many common sense operational changes immediately - without any new State or County legislation. It is our responsibility to make the DLC the best it can be - efficient, competitive, consumer-friendly, and teeming with a diverse and easily accessible inventory for both individual customers and licensees. Montgomery County consumers and businesses deserve no less.

 

I was pleased to hear about the recent changes that have been made at the DLC and I’m glad that the DLC’s survey of licensees reflects their increasing satisfaction with your operation.

 

In addition, I urge you to quickly implement the following operational improvements:

 

  1. Initiate a price matching program in retail stores. Similar to programs offered by Best Buy and other major retailers, the DLC would honor lower prices offered by other stores, including those in other jurisdictions, for the same product where proof of the lower price is provided by the customers. This would boost consumer confidence by eliminating the perception that the DLC’s prices exceed those of its competitors.

 

  1. Evaluate the feasibility of opening regional “superstores” with more shelf space for expanded selection in additional to new, smaller retail locations.

 

  1. Open a new downcounty storage facility to deliver products swiftly to downcounty restaurants and bars to address any emerging shortages and correct any deficient deliveries.

 

  1. Open an after-hours phone hotline and staff an after-hours delivery service to quickly serve licensees who may be running low on products.

 

  1. Add retail annexes offering dedicated checkout lanes and specialized, professional customer service for commercial licensees. For example, vacant commercial space adjacent to the DLC’s Silver Spring location could be set up as an express drive-up service location for Silver Spring/Takoma Park restaurants and bars. Rather than filling shopping carts with large numbers of individual bottles and waiting in lines, licensees could have their own efficient retail service facility where they could quickly pick up unopened cases after ordering online and, if necessary, interact with staff specially trained on licensee needs.

 

  1. Customers are increasingly interested in locally produced products. Work with representatives from Maryland wineries, breweries and distilleries to create prominent, attractive product displays in retail stores highlighting the growing array of wines, beers and spirits created in Maryland, particularly those created in Montgomery County.

 

  1. Budget for leasing new delivery vehicles to refurbish the DLC’s aging fleet as well as upgrading aging retail stores.

 

  1. Rewrite retail store manager job descriptions, supplement their training about the product mix, including wine and beer characteristics and food pairings. Then empower them to greet customers, address questions and make suggestions from a greater breadth of knowledge.

 

I am available anytime to discuss these changes further.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Tom Hucker

Councilmember

 

cc: Tim Firestine, Joy Nurmi, Bonnie Kirkland

Release ID: 17-027
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger, 240-777-7939 , Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931