The adult beverage superstore market is bubbling up in Mount Pleasant.
A year after Sofa Super Store closed at 708 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., the 26,231-square-foot empty building has been sold and will become a different kind of superstore.
A new alcoholic beverage outlet called Corks and Caps is set to open in the highly visible location off U.S. Highway 17 and Shelmore Boulevard. It should open by the spring and offer tastings, among other amenities.
“We will revolutionize the way people shop at beverage stores with this key location,” said David Lugo, owner and managing partner of Corks and Caps.
The new beverage superstore, rumored to be in the works for more than a year, comes on the heels of Bottles, another large alcoholic beverage store that opened in the fall of 2011 in a 15,070-square-foot shop in Moultrie Plaza Shopping Center on Coleman Boulevard.
The store offers not only wine, beer and liquor, but also a growler station, tasting bar, hand-rolled cigars and a walk-in humidor.
Scott Peace, one of the three principals in Bottles, said the competition is good.
“We will have to step up our game,” Peace said. “It will be a motivator.”
George McLaughlin, a managing member at Bottles, said he has been following rumblings of other stores joining them in Mount Pleasant for quite some time.
“If one eventually does follow us to Mount Pleasant, we will raise a glass of our excellent well-priced wine to welcome them to our neighborhood,” McLaughlin said.
Wine store owner Desmond Garrity is a little nervous about having a larger competition nearby, but he believes his experience as a sommelier will set him apart from the big-box alcohol merchants.
He opened his store, Crushed Fine Wine, five years ago in the live-work community of Shelmore Village, just around the corner from the new proposed superstore.
“I don’t think it’s going to help,” he said of the competition, but added that his background of serving as a sommelier for different Charleston area restaurant groups for nearly 20 years before opening his own retail shop gives him a leg up.
“We can provide a certain level of customer service that separates us from the superstores,” Garrity said.
The former Sofa Super Store’s new owner is a firm called Wando Holdings LLC, which paid about $2.6 million for the property, according to Josh Schaap of Charleston Connection Real Estate Services, which helped broker the sale.