Total Wine & More is preparing to open its fourth central Indiana location next week, two years after the company won a high-profile court battle to enter the market.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based liquor superstore chain will open the 34,000-square-foot store—its largest in Indiana—on Sept. 28 at Cool Creek Commons at 2520 E. 146th St. in Westfield.
Stein Mart Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida-based clothing and home decor chain that went out of business in 2020, previously occupied the site.
The company lists the location on its website as being in Carmel, but it will be just north of the 146th Street boundary line in Westfield.
“We’ve had four [stores] planned for some time,” Total Wine & More Vice President for Public Affairs Edward Cooper told IBJ. “We’ve been in the process of getting them open. In terms of future expansion, that just remains to be seen. There hasn’t been a decision made on that just yet.”
Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust noted in its 2021 first-quarter financial report that it secured Total Wine & More as a tenant at Cool Creek Commons.
Total Wine & More typically carries more than 8,000 types of wine, as well as 3,000 to 4,000 types of both beer and spirits. The stores also offer a selection of cigars, glassware, gifts, food and other items.
Each of Total Wine & More’s locations includes a room that can seat up to 60 people that the company calls its “Wine Education Center.” It’s a room that is used by employees, wholesalers and customers for classes on wine, beer and spirits. The room can also be booked for free by groups for meeting space, Cooper said.
Individual stores employ 50 to 75 workers with 75% of them working full-time.
“We’re going to invest in them in terms of training and education on wine and beer and spirits,” Cooper said. “The good thing about hiring folks who are full time is it gives them an opportunity for career with us, so there’s opportunity for advancement. There’s opportunity for expanding their knowledge about wine and beer and spirits.”
Total Wine & More operates 241 stores in 27 states on the East Coast, Midwest and the West.
The company arrived in Indianapolis in November 2020 when it opened a store in the Nora Corners Shopping Center at 1460 E. 86th St., occupying just over 26,000 square feet in a portion of what was formerly a Marsh supermarket. An Aldi grocery store occupies the other portion of the space.
Total Wine & More also opened a 25,000-square-foot store earlier this summer north of Greenwood Park Mall at 2110 E. County Line Road on the site of a former Earth Fare grocery store. Earth Fare closed all three of its Indianapolis market stores in January 2020.
And the company opened a 23,451-square-foot store Wednesday at 13145 Levinson Lane in Noblesville’s Hamilton Town Center. The Noblesville location also was formerly occupied by an Earth Fare grocery.
The flurry of new Total Wine & More locations comes after the company in 2020 won a court case to get a foothold in the Indianapolis area.
The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission originally denied Total Wine & More’s application for a liquor permit, citing a state law that it said prohibited it from issuing a retail permit to any business unless at least 60% of the company’s common stock is owned by people who have lived in Indiana for five years.
Total Wine & More sued the commission days later in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, saying the permit denial violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause.
The case was resolved the summer of 2020 when Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in the retailer’s favor.
Total Wine & More got its start in 1991 when brothers David and Robert Trone opened a 1,000-square-foot package store in Delaware. The brothers, who still own the company, expanded over time to other East Coast states, later branching out to the Midwest and West.