By Sean Burak
Published October 22, 2012
For years I have been disappointed in the Jackson Square LCBO. The dismal selection kept me out of that location for a long time.
On occasion I would drop in, and after being disappointed int he selection, would make a special request. This was generally met with responses ranging from "The type of customers we have won't buy that" to "We only carry sh*t and we'll always carry sh*t".
Yes, the frustrations of the employees have mounted to the point that they don't consider swearing to be inappropriate.
After several complaints, the LCBO has finally replied and I will be meeting with the regional manager at the Jackson LCBO. During this meeting I plan to bring up the following points:
The limited selection at that store forces people to drive to different locations. The very people who live downtown and prefer not to drive are given so few options that many end up having to make special trips to Dundurn or Centre Mall.
By catering to purchasers of single tall cans and low price point products, the store attracts those interested in such products in a higher ration than the average store. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The size of the store, tight layout and lack of natural light is inappropriate for the centre of a city of half a million people. There is no lack of available space in downtown Hamilton for the LCBO to create a full sized store.
By not opening a door and windows onto the street, the LCBO turns a blind eye to the loitering which they cause through their sales. At most LCBO stores, the outside of the store is monitored and loitering is not tolerated. At Jackson, they have turned a blind eye.
The hours of the store are insufficient and most agency stores in the furthest reaches of Northern Ontario offer better hours. Again, this is not appropriate for a city of our size.
I have posted a very quick informal survey on my website. I hope you can take a minute to fill it out. The results will be presented to the manager at our meeting. Together we can convince the LCBO that downtown Hamilton deserves better.
You can take the survey here: http://www.bikehounds.ca/lcbo-survey/
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2012 at 17:36:10
Thanks RTH for posting this and for everyone who has already responded!
For those who responded earlier in the day, please note that I have added a field for extra comments as I was receiving a lot of commentary to my email. If you want to fill it in once more and add comments, I will include them in my submission to the LCBO (comments will be separated from the survey results and will be anonymous).
From my conversations with them so far, they truly believe that there is no demand downtown for quality beer and wine. I have no idea how they came to this conclusion but it's up to us to show them that they are incorrect.
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 21:57:34 in reply to Comment 82051
Point to the growing and revitalizing area on James North - Just down the street, and their love of crafty micro-brews and fine wines.
LCBO is probably just late to recognizing the demographic shift down there.
By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 18:08:59
Offering Radeburger would be the bomb.
It's the liquor and beer outlet I frequent the most, because I live and work downtown, but the beer and Scotch selection is terrible. On Friday afternoons I'll usually pick up a six pack for the office and just get whatever's available. If there were more local microbrews besides Mill Street (which I don't mind, but I have tried it often enough) I would buy those.
By expand (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 18:57:13
Move the store to the other side of the mall to go with the new grocery store.
By jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 19:15:52 in reply to Comment 82054
I was under the impression that this is exactly what is happening. I heard somewhere that it would be 7,000 square feet and would be in the new space created by turfing the dental office and other businesses across from McD's
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 23, 2012 at 08:33:13 in reply to Comment 82056
Have heard this too. There's nothing stopping them from improving the selection at that store RIGHT NOW though.
By jonathan (registered) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 23:39:35 in reply to Comment 82056
As was I:
Nothing official yet; looks like it's just a security guard at Jackson letting something slip he probably shouldn't have...
By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 20:40:51
Thanks for providing the ability to comment on their poor selection and attitude at the LCBO. I have posted my opinions there.
Fabulous job, Sean. I've griped about this, but since I have other LCBO outlets an easy bike ride to the West and East of both home and office, I've never really considered it my problem.
But it is our problem: people from out of town would hardly be impressed by our "flagship" LCBO. We should have something visible from the street, with direct street access from King, Bay or James. Something to be a little bit proud of.
Frankly, I don't run the gantlet of the unofficial guardians of the doors to Jackson Square unless I really, really have to. Hard to imagine visitors doing so and coming away with the warm fuzzies.
The current LCBO contributes to the the problems of downtown, when it could make downtown more appealing.
Comment edited by moylek on 2012-10-22 22:44:58
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2012 at 22:56:29 in reply to Comment 82065
Yes. The downtown LCBO should be Hamilton's flagship location. Not the worst one in the city.
By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 21:33:11
Signed in a heartbeat. I've set emails to the LCBO regarding the small size and terrible selection in this outlet.
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2012 at 21:53:59
They closed down their Union Station location in Downtown Toronto, and have a nice new modern location just inside the RBC building in the PATH. It's not the largest, but has a great selection of just about everything - and puts some of our larger Hamilton LCBOs to shame. It's not necessarily "expensive" stuff, just nicer stuff.
There's no reason Jackson can't be the same.
By rednic (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 08:26:57
In a real the city the liquor store has the same hours (or better) than the bingo hall.
By meat popsicle (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 09:50:27
Keep the old location to stock the mouthwash and hand sanitizer for the skids to drink outside the front door.
By brodiec (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:04:57
Now this is boosterism I can get behind!
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 18:58:25
The soon to be open Nations Fresh supermarket at Jackson Square could have some competition in the downtown core within two to three years. According to an article by Paul Wilson on the CBC Hamilton website today, local commercial developer David Blanchard is planning to build a new condo and retail complex on the south side of King Street between Hughson and James which might include a second large supermarket operated by a national chain. http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/talk/story/20...
By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 19:35:41 in reply to Comment 82100
I sincerely hope he succeeds, the backside of those buildings are absolutely atrocious, as the decaying brick is complimented by rusted fire escapes, unsightly green shutters opening into a rapidly dissolving backtop parking lot. A tall condo tower will add further density to the core, put a 2nd Supermarket down there to keep prices low and attract people to the living down there, match the neighbouring towers, and further the pedestrianization of Gore Park.
By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 23:10:44 in reply to Comment 82103
One thing I will say though, the Landed Bank and Loan building I would say is of enough historical significance to keep around, or at least preserve the facade, which I think would be a great feature to incorporate into a new condo complex.
Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2012-10-23 23:13:48
By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 23:45:54 in reply to Comment 82108
The CBC story notes his group "saved" that building among others on James... I don't know exactly what that means but you'd have to think that particular building would make sense to incorporate. Hopefully the others on the King side could be incorporated as well (I've always loved the Bank of Nova Scotia too)
By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 24, 2012 at 13:30:23 in reply to Comment 82110
Maybe the interior of the Bank of Nova Scotia, but the exterior is a concrete box with a glass front with some tacky Neon lights. As far as the other parts of the front facade, they all to me look like worn, poor man duplicates of Victoria Hall. I'd miss the pigeons roosting there more then the buildings, but understand why some might want to preserve the facades.
As far as saved, he's put money to keep that building maintained and restored, as with the Pigott building from my understanding. However, someone should really start a new article about this, and hopefully one that dicusses both the benefits of keeping the heritage vs the benefits of new a brand new development.
Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2012-10-24 14:39:56
By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 21:08:43 in reply to Comment 82126
Maybe the interior of the Bank of Nova Scotia, but the exterior is a concrete box with a glass front with some tacky Neon lights.
I could be wrong, but I believe it's limestone. Personally, I like the orange neon in the inscribed bank name.
I always say architecture is a matter of opinion though so I respect your view.
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted October 23, 2012 at 21:33:49
The Hamilton Spectator website now has an article by Emma Reilly titled "Downtown history has a date with the wrecking ball" about the Blanchard development proposal. A map is included with the article. The blue symbol on the map shows that the development would also front Main Street between James and Hughson. http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...
By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 24, 2012 at 14:37:57 in reply to Comment 82106
Here's another market from CBC Hamilton. It seems they aren't touching the LB&L building in this one.
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 24, 2012 at 19:19:10 in reply to Comment 82128
They’re not sure what they want to build, or what it’s going to look like. But they are certain of one thing – they want a fresh canvas on their piece of King Street East and truly hope the wreckers can get to work on the first day of next June.
By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:48:08
In tribute to a grand Hamilton tradition, Blanchard recently spiffed up the back half of the LB&L with three storeys of (you guessed it ) beige stucco.
By Stuart (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2012 at 22:37:22
They don't call it the Mutant Mall for no reason...
By James (registered) | Posted October 24, 2012 at 23:03:39
Yes, let's keep on cutting away the rot and decay of the Victorian age so they can replace it with a surface parking lot and some beige stucco. God forbid we have some architectural interest in this city.
By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 07:13:06
Has this happened yet (the meeting with the LCBO regional manager)? If so, what was the outcome?
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 11:11:11 in reply to Comment 82145
RTH will be the first to know when I have answers :-)
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2012 at 11:13:24 in reply to Comment 82178
The meeting happened on October 26. I met with the regional manager and the store manager. I will post a complete update when I have time to write it up.
Summary: There was no word on a new store, however I think it's inevitable. In the meantime, we had a small win... just a week later there is now a small craft beer section at the Jackson store. The store manager is also very open to bringing in items on request, so hopefully this will be the beginning of good changes!
By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 29, 2012 at 09:27:31
"Activism" is making demands for a better liquor store??? Uh, okay.
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2012 at 11:16:13 in reply to Comment 82382
Not sure why you get so easily offended. I never claimed this was an activist movement or anything. However now that you mention it, the state of the Jackson Square liquor store does have a direct social impact on residents and visitors of our core, so it's not really NOT activism either...
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