Paul, Pam, and Jordan Brand know a thing or two about running a store in small town Minnesota. They’ve been operating Pam’s Corner Convenience in Rushford since 2005, and opened an off-sale liquor store there in 2012. They have now brought their expertise to their new store, Pam’s Off Sale Liquor, in downtown Harmony.
Regarding their location, Paul Brand said, “It was called the Quarter/quarter, it was a restaurant/wine bar, but that’s been out of business for four to five years. And way back, it used to be the fire department.” He continued, “About eight months ago, we started looking into it with the city, which was great to deal with, but it just takes time.” Pam said they then looked for a good location, and when they found the Quarter/quarter building, “Taking a look at it, it didn’t look like we needed to do much to it,… It’s big, we just needed to build a cooler, build a checkout counter, and basically it was ready to go.”
The Brands have worked with Nick Thompson for several years in Rushford, and he agreed to take on the role of manager for Pam’s Off Sale Liquor. Pam added, “We are very fortunate to have him,” and she said they are in the process of hiring additional staff to work in Harmony. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11am to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Paul said that although there are two other businesses in Harmony with off-sale liquor licenses, Pam’s Off Sale Liquor is the only traditional liquor store operating in town. He said the idea of opening a store in Harmony came about because, “For the past two or three years at our store in Rushford, we’ve had Harmony people stop in,… and they said we should open one in Harmony.” The store opened on July 23, and the Brands say sales and interest in their new store have been brisk.
Paul smiled as he told of an incident on July 4, when he and Pam were in Harmony to watch fireworks and check on the construction of the store. As they stood in front of the store, someone walked right between them to try to enter the store, but they had to inform him that it wasn’t open yet. Pam added that quite a few people have stopped in just to look around and see what the new store looks like.
Pam’s Off Sale Liquor offers beer, wine, liquors, and accessories. Paul said, “We put the basics in, and then we wait for the people to tell us what they’d like us to put in, in addition.” The store includes a large walk-in “beer cave.” Paul added, “We don’t do sales, we try to keep our prices low all the time.” He said that’s been their business plan in Rushford, and it’s served them well.
According to Paul, the Brands plan for the future is to, “Just keep doing what we’re doing,” but he added, “We have done wine tastings (in Rushford), and once we get going here better, we might do some here,” especially over the winter holiday season. Pam added that the Harmony store has plenty of room for such events.
The store was originally targeted to open July 1, but Jordan explained, “We knew when we picked the date that everything would have had to land just right in order to open by then.” Pam agreed, saying, “We knew we could have opened a little bit earlier (than July 23), but we wanted it to look perfect,” rather than having to explain why things were not yet completely stocked. Paul shared his appreciation for the Harmony community, stating, “Everybody’s been very good to work with,… We’re glad to be here.” Pam added her invitation for everyone to “stop in and see us!”