Pelican Rapids operates one of a handful of city-run liquor stores that has been profitable every year.  

Year end 2019 operating profit at Pelican Liquors was just shy of  $170,000. The operating profit at the Pelican retail liquor operation were on par with 2018, which showed a profit of $172,000

Total sales were $1.41 million, an increase of about $20,000 over 2018.  

But bolstering the bottom line in Pelican Rapids were operating expenses that were actually down from 2018. Unlike many businesses, of any kind, Pelican Liquors manager Maggie Johnson managed to not only contain–but reduce–expenses by $66,000 from last year. 

The Minnesota Auditor’s Office recently released its statewide list detailing the most and least profitable municipal liquor stores in the state, ranking them by their net profit or loss as a percentage of their sales.  But the state report is always a full year behind–so the statewide report is from 2018. 

In the top 25 of the most profitable were stores in Detroit Lakes, Ogema, Perham, Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls.

Four  city-run stores in the lakes area were losing money .

Ending in the red were stores in Mahnomen, Frazee, Wolf Lake and Ada.

The state report for 2018 shows several area stores rebounded to a profitable position, including Barnesville, Hitterdal, Elizabeth and Dalton.

Taking a look at some of the profitable stores, in the 2018 state auditor’s report:  

 • Detroit Lakes totaled $7.1 million in sales with $868,452 in net profit

• Fergus Falls, $6.1 million in sales with $768,269 in profit

• Perham, $3.4 million in sales with $511,831 in net profit

• Pelican Rapids, $1.39 million in 2018 sales with $172,118 in net profit. All had profit margins above 10% of sales.

In 2018, statewide city-run liquor store sales totalled  $360.2 million, which was an $11.3 million increase over 2017. Net profits hit $29 million, up $5.9 million from the previous year.

There is a statewide decline in the number of municipal stores.  from 242 in 2009 to 223 in 2018. In Otter Tail County, Erhard and Parkers Prairie are two that have closed because of  lack of profitability.