How to Open a Liquor Store in South Carolina

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A business owner must have first-hand knowledge of the liquor laws and a good working relationship with the State of South Carolina. Any violations of liquor laws will result in fines and the state shutting the business down.

Create a name for your new liquor store. The name should be one that will catch people’s attention and make them interested enough to enter the store and look at your merchandise.

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Register the name with the South Carolina Secretary of State by using the form “Registration and/or Biennial Renewal Application” that can be found on the South Carolina Secretary of State website under Business Opportunities (see Resources). Include the filing fee when you send your form in to the Secretary of State.

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Write a business plan for the liquor store. Include in the plan the types of alcohol you will sell, your plans for your first year or two of business and your new business mission statement.

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Decide on a location for your new liquor store. The location needs to include adequate parking and storage areas, and enough space to display the liquor that you intend to sell. Business owners often hire building inspectors to go over the building before they lease or buy it to ensure that it is up to the South Carolina state codes.

Apply for a retail license from the Department of Revenue. You can register at the South Carolina One Stop Business Portal. You will need the retail license so that you can sell merchandise in your store.

Apply for liquor licenses with the State of South Carolina. The forms can be found on the South Carolina Department of Revenue website. The forms include a Notice of Application, Application for Business Local Option, Application for Business Annual Local Option Permit, Alcohol Beverage Licensing Lawful Presence and an Application for Retail Beer, Wine and Liquor.

Sign up your new liquor store with the South Carolina Unemployment Agency. This is necessary when you hire employees to work at your business because they might have to file for benefits. The unemployment office is also a valuable tool when hiring new employees to come work at your liquor store, because you can discuss your hiring needs with them and create a help wanted ad in their job banks.

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Hire and train employees for your liquor store. Employees of any liquor store need background checks performed by the state of South Carolina and the proper training on how to sell alcohol. Consider hiring a human resources coordinator to handle daily human resource tasks such as employee training and benefits as well as any employee issues. Hire an accountant to keep track of the money that the store makes and where the money goes.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Keep copies of any documents you submit with state agencies for your records.
  • Keep a copy of your licenses on display in the store.
  • Renew your licenses when necessary.
  • Consult with a business lawyer if you are unclear of any state laws regarding alcohol sales.

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