A Piece of Tri-City History: New Liquor and Wine Outlet Connects with Region’s Past

Look through the brick archways, past the oak barrels and between the bottles that line the shelves at the newly opened Tri-City New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet, and visitors to the venerable structure will discover a close-up look at the ghosts of Somersworth’s past.

There are unique elements to many of the Liquor and Wine Outlets throughout the state, but this newly opened location may be the most notable. The store, which opened its doors for the first time this summer, has become a destination for both shoppers, and also for residents interested in getting a closer look at the building’s long and colorful past.

“This building has a lot of history to it,” Manager Jonathan Edmunds says. “And when they worked on the refurbishment, they kept as much of the original building as they could. It’s probably the most unique store, but it’s also one of the most beautiful stores, as well.” The building spent part of its previous life as a trolley shed from the late 1800s until 1926, where workers repaired and maintained streetcars that serviced the Dover, Somersworth and Rochester areas. For a time it was also an auto repair shop and a car dealership, according to Edmunds.

A look inside the bright, airy location reveals elements from that diverse past. Original brick lines part of the walls and the pulley system once used to move trolleys around sits high above the 20,000-square-foot space, which is now stocked with thousands of bottles of wine and spirits. “They kept as much of the original (interior) as they could,” Edmunds says. “Occasionally a customer will come in and tell us about how they had a friend or family member that worked at the garage or remembered the trolley shed.”

On the side of the building, oversized doors — now converted to bright, white windows — reveal where the train cars would once be brought into the building. A large, corner entrance flows into a bright, open area, leading through a number of brick archways toward the six aisles and six registers — and the expanded stock of wine on the right side of the store and spirits to the left. Full-timers Jen Richard, Amanda Knowles and Karen McKenna-Curran and a team of 15 part-timers round out the staff.

“We have a great group here,” Edmunds says of the store’s upbeat environment. “We’ve had great support from management and as a result, a lot of growth.” The new Somersworth location carries more wine, more spirits and more high-end selections than the older Somersworth and downtown Dover stores, which closed just the evening before the Tri-City location opened its doors.

“Craig Boudreau, my regional supervisor, was the key point person involved,” Edmunds says of the move to the new store. “Craig was there from beginning to end, and helped organize resources from other stores. We couldn’t have done it without help from the other stores.”

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has also made barrel-buys of tequila and bourbon available in the new location, a program that high- lights unique characteristics for each of the spirits — offering subtle differences from bottle to bottle. “It’s just one of the elements that makes shopping — and working — in the Tri-City location enjoyable,” Edmunds says. “It’s a pleasure to come into the store and see everything brand new. But the nicest part is when customers come in and we get to see their reactions. Many drove by here for two years, wondering what it would look like. Now we get to see their smiles as they come inside and get a look at everything themselves.”


From Celebrate NH Magazine.