Dinkytown Wine and Spirits expands


As Dinkytown Wine and Spirits enters its 23rd year, owner Irv Hershkovitz said he’s starting to see the children of some of his old customers.

“Everything at the store is pretty much new except me,” Hershkovitz said. “I’m the only old thing that’s still here.”

This month, the liquor store will wrap up a major renovation that has doubled its sales space and added a walk-in beer cooler and new security measures.

The store originally shared a wall with Subway, which in January moved to a new location down the block. The liquor store has expanded into the space with a reconfigured entrance and checkout area.

The long line that snaked out the door on Friday afternoons is gone, Hershkovitz said, and the counter at the center of the store has been replaced by four individual checkout lanes that keep things moving faster.

Hershkovitz said the plan is five years in the making and new arrangement harkens back to the grocery store that occupied the building before Dinkytown Wine and Spirits opened in 1989.

Ryan Mundon, a finance junior, buys a case of beer at the store about once per week. He said the added lines make the checkout process more confusing.

“The checkout lines are still frustrating,” he said. “They used to have the one long line … but now there are four counters, and you don’t know where to wait if the line’s long.”

The renovation extends behind the scenes, too — the store is getting all new wiring, increased storage and a reconfigured loading area, Hershkovitz said.

“It used to be one beer company would have to deliver four to five times a week,” he said. “Now they can get by with one or two.”

‘Beer Gurus’

The expansion also brings a walk-in beer cooler to Dinkytown Wine and Spirits for the first time.

Hershkovitz said he’s worked to expand the store’s beer selection as students’ tastes have changed.

“Most students are beer gurus now,” he said. “It’s not just ‘Where’s the cheapest garbage you have?’”

The store stocks about half of the kegs it used to, Hershkovitz said, and instead makes room for more microbrews and imported beers.

Andrew Montgomery, a third-year graduate student, said he has been shopping at Dinkytown Wine and Spirits since he was an undergraduate. He said he’s been disappointed to see beer prices go up since the renovation.

“I’m a little nostalgic,” he said. “It used to be a hole in the wall, a place to get cheap beer.”

Security concerns

The renovation has also bumped the store’s ceiling up several feet. Hershkovitz’s new office sits up above, with a clear view of the whole store.

“The customers call it my perch,” he said.

The new office is one of several changes made to discourage shoplifting, Hershkovitz said.

The new checkout arrangement deters theft by increasing employee presence near the exit, Hershkovitz said. Moving the checkout to one end of the store and adding large windows have also made shoplifting harder.

“We want to be able to have good clear lines of sight,” Minneapolis police crime prevention specialist Nick Juarez said.

The police routinely consult with businesses on crime prevention, advising on store layout and strategies for dealing with robberies or other disturbances, Juarez said.

Hershkovitz said the store hires off-duty police officers to provide security on particularly busy weekends, though he hopes the renovations will be enough to deter crime.

“Anything you can do to discourage people, that’s what you have to do nowadays,” he said. “I don’t want to have a cop here all the time. Students feel uncomfortable — they shouldn’t, but [they do].”