Total Wine & More to open new megastore in Vero


County planning staff have approved plans by Total Wine & More, the largest alcohol retailer in the United States, to open its first store in Indian River County in the former Bed, Bath & Beyond location just east of the Indian River Mall.

According to permits issued on May 9 and May 10, Retail Contractors of Puerto Rico, Inc., will complete interior demolition and improvements to the 21,843-square-foot store at 6150 20th St.

Total Wine & More, with more than 250 stores around the country, offers specials on wine, spirits and beer, winery-direct vintages, and same-day delivery on orders of $49 or more.

Certified wine professionals work at each store, as well as industry experts available for concierge email and private phone consultations.

While the new megastore may provide wine-lovers and aficionados more options, local wine merchant Robert Wayne, owner of Varietals and More on Royal Palm Pointe, expressed dismay at the news of a “big box store” coming to the area.

A large chain with the buying power of Total Wine & More can create “winery direct programs” in which they contract with a winery for large quantities they can sell for less than independent stores, or even create their own private label, Wayne said. Large chains can also afford to sell the top brands at or below cost, which can crush the competition, he said.

“I think it will put a hurting on a lot of local businesses, for sure,” Wayne said. “I believe in fair trade, but there’s no question you lose your small-town feel.”

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