LEE -- The family-run Lee Package Store, a long-established liquor store near downtown, is on the move next to the Big Y supermarket on Route 102, just off Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Owner Jim Finnegan says the new store could open within 2-to-3 months -- or sooner -- depending on when state officials approve the move. The Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission has the final say on the change of location for a liquor license, which the Lee Board of Selectmen unanimously endorsed at their regular meeting Tuesday night.
"You’re going to have plenty of parking, no problem there." quipped Selectmen Chairman Gordon Bailey, referring to Big Y’s large parking lot that will easily accommodate the liquor store patrons.
After the meeting, Finnegan told an Eagle reporter he will use 3,000 square feet of the 5,000-square-foot retail space the supermarket chain built to attract one or two other stores to its shopping complex.
The new location will be roomier than the current 2,500 square feet Finnegan rents next to the Rite Aid pharmacy off Park Street.
"It will be more shopper-friendly, especially during the holidays when it can get crowded," he said.
For decades, Lee Package Store has been selling beer, wine and hard liquor next to Rite Aid, formerly Adams Supermarket and First National Supermarket. Finnegan’s grandfather, Ike Scarafoni, purchased the package store in the 1960s, with the grandson taking over around 1990.
Finnegan says he is moving, in part, due to Rite Aid supposedly seeking to expand its store into part of his current store. Rite Aid officials couldn’t be reached for comment to confirm a possible enlargement of the pharmacy.
While Lee Package Store’s new home is across from Route 102 Package Store on Old Pleasant Street, Finnegan doesn’t foresee direct competition between the two.
"There’s plenty of customers to go around," he said. "We have different clientele."
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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