Loading up at Red Dot

A customer loads boxes into his SUV at Red Dot Liquors in Century Plaza Friday afternoon. Brittainy Goodman, a clerk at the store, said many shoppers are stocking up on beer and some are purchasing Golden Grain alcohol to make homemade hand sanitizer. It’s 120-proof. "We don’t normally sell it ... unless it’s summer and somebody is making hooch," she said. (Chanda Veno | State Journal)

Editor's note: This story was updated at 7 a.m. on March 24 to correct that the customer was loading boxes into his vehicle.

Whether it is an increase in stress or mounting uncertainty, many area folks are stocking up on alcohol, tobacco and vaping products, according to shop clerks and owners.

“The liquor store is the most friendly place in town because we don’t sell toilet paper,” laughed Brittainy Goodman, a cashier at Red Dot Liquor in Century Plaza, who has noticed an increase in sales lately.

Most of her customers, like those being waited on across town by Amanda Cook at Discount Tobacco on Schenkel Lane, are stocking up on beer.

“I had a guy come in yesterday who bought three 30 packs and three 18 packs of Bud Light,” Cook said. “People are also buying lots and lots of liquor — instead of buying one bottle, they’ll buy two.”

Both said bourbon sales remain steady most of the year. But Red Dot has noticed an uptick in the amount of Golden Grain alcohol it is selling.

Goodman said customers are buying the high-proof alcohol because it is one of the main ingredients in homemade hand sanitizer recipes.

“It’s 120-proof. We don’t normally sell it … unless it’s summer and somebody is making hooch,” she said.

At Discount Tobacco smokers are buying extra packs and cartons of cigarettes, Cook said.

Capital Vape owner Adam Sizemore said e-cigarette users are also snapping up liquid and coils. The Versailles Road business is still open but is limiting the number of customers who are in the store at once and adhering to Gov. Andy Beshear’s call for social distancing.

“We are wiping down and disinfecting the doors, counters and anything people touch after each customer visits,” he said.

Capital Vape has also added a call-ahead curbside option. Folks who prefer to stay in their vehicles can phone the store, tell them what they need, what they are driving and a clerk will run it out to the parking lot.

“Everybody’s on the fence (about the coronavirus), but they appreciate that we’re taking extra precautions,” he added. “I think it plays a part in customer satisfaction.”

Sizemore, who serves on the board of directors of the Kentucky Smoke Free Association (KSFA) — a statewide advocacy and trade organization supporting vape shop owners — also wants to clear the air about a rumor started by anti-vaping groups that e-cigarette usage increases the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.

“There is absolutely no study to prove that whatsoever,” he said. “I don’t buy it one bit.”

Capital Vape has also added a call-ahead curbside option. Folks who prefer to stay in their vehicles can phone the store, tell them what they need, what they are driving and a clerk will run it out to the parking lot.

What people are buying downtown at Capital Cellars is high-end box wine and, of course, bourbon.

“Folks are buying larger quantities of wines and spirits at a time but nothing apocalyptic,” said server Anna Latek, who added that the store is still open for quick retail package sales with a limited number of customers allowed in at once.

The Broadway wine shop is also taking debit and credit card orders over the phone and offers curbside pickup for packaged alcohol as well as sandwiches, cheese and crackers.

“We can run their order out to them on Broadway or, if they park in our small lot behind the shop off Lewis Street,” she added.

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