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LCB's biggest store opening in Shadyside neighborhood

| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 10:57 p.m.

Pennsylvania's largest wine and spirits store, a 17,000-square-foot mega-outlet, will officially debut today in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood.

The renovated store, built around an existing state store at 5956 Penn Circle South, has been enlarged by about 35 percent, LCB officials said.

The larger, more upscale store is opening in an area experiencing residential, retail and restaurant growth for several years.

With that upswing continuing, LCB officials have pinned their hopes on history repeating itself with the renovated space. The agency has seen sales typically increase about 20 percent to 35 percent at revamped stores, in part because the layout and organization of products encourages shoppers to browse longer, according to officials.

The Penn Circle store first opened in January 2002 and in 2006 was consolidated with smaller stores on Baum Boulevard and Centre Avenue that eventually were closed, said LCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman. As sales at Penn Circle South continued to grow and space adjacent to the shop became available, the agency decided to expand, she said.

The LCB has spent just shy of a quarter million dollars at the site, mostly on interior fixtures, while other costs have been rolled into the rent the agency pays to the building's owner, Eastside Limited Partnership II.

Like other remodeled stores, new floors and shelving were installed, along with contemporary-looking frosted glass signs identifying product categories and a center island with a tasting bar.

Colorful walls help to designate different product categories, and featured wines are displayed at eye level and in baskets around the center island.

“The board is very excited to officially cut the ribbon on this store,” Kriedeman said. “A lot of customers use this store, and we want to provide them with a world-class shopping experience from the moment they walk in the door.”

Renovations were completed in stages, allowing the store to remain open during construction, Kriedeman said. More than 60 state stores have been remodeled to date with another six planned for completion by the end of the year, she said.

Located near upscale restaurants and bistros and close to high-end shopping, the Penn Circle South store is among the most profitable statewide.

For the 2013-14 fiscal year, it posted wine and spirits sales totaling more than $19.1 million, according to the LCB.

Shoppers will find more than 5,750 products at the newly opened store, compared with just above 3,900 in the Wexford store and more than 4,600 in the Pine Plaza Premium Collection store, Kriedeman said.

Two wine specialists are assigned to the store to conduct weekly wine tastings, events that have proven hugely popular with patrons.

A ceremonial ribbon cutting will be held at 4 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres served and wine and spirits tastings held throughout the day for customers 21 and older.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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