Community’s newest business offers a large variety, competitive prices

Pam’s Off Sale Liquor manager Nick Thompson is standing outside the front entrance of Harmony’s newest business on Center Street East. CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER
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It’s been about a quarter century since the Harmony Municipal Liquor Store closed its doors. Since then, a number of different businesses obtained off-sale liquor licenses from the city and included a scaled down off-sale section in their on-sale bar/restaurant businesses.

However, it wasn’t the same as going into an establishment that specialized only in the off-sale business of spirits, wines, beers and mixes.

That all changed on July 23, when Paul and Pam Brand and their son, Jordan, all of Rushford, opened Pam’s Off Sale Liquor in the former Quarter/quarter Restaurant building at 25 Center Street East in downtown Harmony.

“We have been very pleased with the initial response,” said Jordan last week. “The Harmony community has been very supportive and we are very encouraged with the way things are starting out.”

The Brands are no strangers when it comes to the off-sale liquor business. They have been operating an off-sale liquor store in Rushford since 2012. When Rushford closed its municipal liquor store, the Brands decided to expand Pam’s Convenience Store at the intersection of Highways 16 and 43 and open an off-sale store. The Brands’ business venture was well received in the Rushford community and over the past six years, their clientele and the area from which it came, continued to grow.

“We had a number of customers from the Harmony area who liked what we were doing in Rushford and asked us if we might think about opening an off-sale in their community,” Jordan explained. “We talked it over, did some research and decided it might not be a bad idea.” That was this past January.

At the time, the city of Harmony was granting just two off-sale licenses to businesses in town. According to the existing ordinance, that was all the off-sale licenses that could be issued. So the Brands met with city officials, their request to expand the number of off-sale licenses was discussed by the city council and the ordinance was changed to allow for more than two licenses.

“The city was great to work with,” Jordan observed. “They were very helpful, not only with the licensing, but also in helping us find a building.”

Once the Brands had cleared the licensing hurdle, they needed to find a building that would provide plenty of floor space to display the large inventory they were planning in a downtown location. The former Quarter/quarter building on Center Street East fit the bill.

“The building was in good condition and didn’t require much work,” Jordan said, looking around the newly remodeled building. “We basically had a large walk-in beer cooler built as well as new shelving, display cases and the counter area.”

When one enters Harmony’s newest business, the clean, bright openness of the interior of Pam’s Off Sale Liquor is quite striking. And the large selection of spirits, wines, beers and mixes is quite impressive. Upon closer inspection of the pricing revealed Pam’s is very competitive with the large stores in Rochester and La Crosse.

“We’re keeping our pricing down to that we can be competitive with some of the larger stores, so we can move our product,” Jordan noted. “And we do feel it is important to have a wide selection. If there’s something we don’t carry, folks just have to ask, and we should be able to get it.”

Jordan said the planning process of the Harmony location was made easier by what he and his parents learned when they opened the Rushford store. “Oh yes. We had a better idea on how much space we needed, the inventory and what would be a good layout.”

Nick Thompson, who has worked at the Rushford location for a number of years, will be serving as store manager of the Harmony location. Jordan noted they will also be hiring staff to help with the night time and weekend hours.

Pam’s Off Sale Liquor is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays.