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November 20. 2012 8:47PM

Contract awarded for liquor warehouse

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission announced Tuesday that it has awarded a 20-year contract to an Ohio company to build and operate a warehouse in Bow.

In a statement, the Liquor Commission said Exel Inc. of Westerville, Ohio, beat out five other bidders, including Law Warehouses, which currently provides warehousing for the Liquor Commission out of facilities in Nashua. Law's operation will continue until November 2013, when Exel will take over from the Bow location.

"This contract award is a significant milestone in enhancing the service and revenue we provide to the state of New Hampshire," Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica said in prepared remarks. "The efficiencies and service advances provided by Exel will substantially upgrade our operations and bolster our competitive edge."

The Liquor Commission announced the deal on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the New Hampshire Attorney General reviewed it and gave it a go-ahead, said Craig Bulkley, chief of administration for the Liquor Commission.

Rates are based on volume, and the contract has no upper dollar value, Bulkley said. The Liquor Commission projects that the contract will result in $3 million in savings to the Liquor Commission and $4 million in savings to suppliers and consumers over the first 30 months of operations.

Suppliers pay the Liquor Commission for warehouse storage, except in the few instances when the Commission takes ownership of the product before it is shipped to stores, Bulkley said.

He said savings under the Exel contract should amount to about 10 percent over the current contract.

With a signed deal, Exel is expected to begin construction of a new warehouse, state-of-the-art systems and a building specifically designed for the needs of the Liquor Commission and its customers, the statement reads. Bulkley said the land is located off Route 3A in Bow, near the town water tower.

"We are excited about this opportunity to bring our experience and expertise to the warehousing services of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission," said Fred Takavitz, Exel senior vice president in a press release. "We look forward to further enhancing the success of these operations, which in turn ensures the success of the service and revenue provided to the state of New Hampshire by the NHLC."

Company spokesman Lynn Anderson said Exel expects to employ about 50 workers at the warehouse. She said there is no agreement that any workers from Law Warehouse be offered employment, but any time Exel moves into a new area it will look for qualified workers.

The Liquor Commission will continue to operate its own 50,000 square foot warehouse on Storrs Street in Concord.

Meanwhile, Bulkley said that investigation into the loss of 300 boxes of expensive wine from its Portsmouth operation is in the hands of the Attorney General.

On Tuesday, WMUR-TV news reported that the Liquor Commission loses only a fraction of its product - one-half of 1 percent - due to damage, shoplifting, employee theft or other reasons. Industry norms are 3 to 3 1/2 percent, the Commission said in the report.

Stores in Hooksett and Hampton routinely placed in the top 10 when it came to losses, the station reported.

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Mark Hayward may be reached at mhayward@unionleader.com.



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