Stores and state liquor board get ready

 
 

Within hours of the early results showing that Initiative 1183 would be approved, retailers and entrepreneurs put their toes on the starting line of the Washington equivalent of the Oklahoma land rush, and the state Liquor Control Board issued its first Liquor Sales Transition webpage announcing a timeline for implementation of the initiative and an outline of the new liquor licenses that can be applied for early next year.

Safeway Stores announced that it expects to sell liquor at all of its 155 Washington stores, and a Trader Joe’s spokesperson thought the chain would sell distilled spirits at most or all of its stores in the state, according to a Seattle Times report.

Liquor Board spokesman Brian Smith says he did not believe the board would require stores to set up separate, secure retailing areas for the sale of spirits, such as can be found in Washington, D.C., Safeway stores. Smith did say that paper applications for the new “spirits distributor” and “spirits retail” licenses would be available in early January. Distributors and retailers would be authorized to begin operations on or after March 1 and June 1, 2012, respectively.

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Wrench wants to take the hassle out of car repair.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
 
Need a quick oil change? Maybe a complete tune-up? A year-old startup called Wrench dispatches a certified mechanic to your home or workplace and eliminates the hassle and cost of having to drop off your car at the car dealer or repair shop.
 
“We’re 30 percent cheaper than a dealership and on par with an independent shop,” says Wrench cofounder and CEO Ed Petersen. “But we’re more convenient.”
 
Petersen adds that the pitch to consumers is simple: “Our goal is to make owning your car completely hassle free.”
 
To request service, customers can visit Wrench’s website — getwrench.com — or they can use a smartphone app. Its most popular service is an oil change, which starts at $68. Wrench also offers memberships, which include quarterly visits for oil changes, tire rotations, safety inspections and fluid top-offs; memberships cost $14.95 a month for cars and $19.95 for trucks.
 
 
Last June, the Madrona Venture Group contributed half of a $1.2 million seed round. Managing Director Len Jordan says the big market potential, clear pain point and compelling solution sold Madrona on Wrench’s concept.
 
“We like the market opportunity,” Jordan says. “There are more than 120 million cars on the road that are more than three years old.”
 
So far, Wrench has serviced more than a thousand vehicles. Jordan says the startup is still in its infancy, so the focus is less on making a profit and more on establishing a presence. Demand, however, is apparent. Wrench expanded to car-happy Phoenix in November and is studiously eyeing other markets.
 
Wrench has a contract to service vehicles for Lyft, the ride-hiring service. And it hopes to expand its services to office and industrial parks; it already has deals with Bellefield Office Park in Bellevue and North Creek Business Park in Bothell.