Members of the co-op in Wellington, P.E.I., have given the thumbs to a major expansion that will include the sale of alcohol.

Of the 122 members who voted during a special meeting Wednesday night, 102  — or almost 84 per cent — voted in favour of selling alcoholic beverages, according to a news release.

Board members said the co-op has seen a drop in sales of about $200,000 these last few years, mainly because of increased competition from the numerous stores that are now selling groceries in the neighbouring community of Summerside, P.E.I.

Wellington

Wellington Co-op members approved a plan that will see the hardware section eliminated, and a liquor section added. (Wellington Co-op/Facebook)

They were looking for ways to increase its sales when it heard last fall that the PEI Liquor Control Commission wanted to close its Wellington store, located in the Place du Village mini-mall, and was inviting tenders to take over liquor sales in the area.

The store submitted a tender, which was accepted by the PEILCC.

Hardware section eliminated

The project members accepted includes the elimination of the current hardware section, which the board said is not profitable. A nine-by-18-metre expansion would be added onto the front of the store, eliminating about 10 parking spaces.

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The Wellington Co-op expects to be selling alcoholic beverages by the end of summer or early fall. (CBC)

A 4.5-by-4.5-metre cooler would be installed to cool off certain beverages, primarily beer, the release said. In the adjoining groceries section, eight freezer doors would be added.

The entire store would also get extended hours of operation, and part-time staff at the current liquor store will be offered jobs at the co-op, the release said.

The board expects the new liquor section to be up and running by the end of the summer or early fall.