The Dallas Morning News recently reported that Houston-based Spec’s, which sells beer, wine, liquor and specialty foods, will open stores in Dallas by the end of the year. The question is where.
Jay Alvis, who markets wine to local restaurants and fine wine shops, says Spec’s won’t consider any retail locations that are “damp,” meaning beer and wine sales are legal following last fall’s election, but liquor sales are not.
“A lot of of the areas that have gone so-called ‘wet’ have gone wet to beer and wine only. There are very few places that went ‘wet’ as opposed to ‘damp,’ and I’ve never heard of Spec’s going in with wine and beer only,” Alvis says.
So expect to see Spec’s moving into areas where liquor stores are already established. Spec’s will carry its own exclusive wine and spirits labels, and also is known for its own specialty food labels, Alvis says, “which is what Trader Joe’s does, but Spec’s also has a broad distribution base to carry the bigger-named brands at very low prices.” A store such as Central Market may carry 2,000-3,000 brands, Alvis says, and in comparison, Spec’s may carry 14,000-16,000.
Alvis believes Spec’s will be a fierce competitor because “they negotiate a bigger case volume and try to get a lower price, then pass that lower price on to the consumer. I wouldn’t be surprised if they match Sam’s and Costco prices.”
The Morning News story noted that Spec’s stores range in size from 8,000 to 80,000 square feet, the latter being its flagship store in Houston. If Spec’s tends toward the smaller size in Dallas, it may end up competing for spaces with Trader Joe’s, which typically seeks out real estate in the 8,000-12,000 square foot range.