Joco Diversions

It’s not 99 bottles of beer on the wall at Missie’s Discount Liquor — it’s more like 53 coolers

The owner figures that the beer coolers at Missie's Discount Liquors, 11938 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee, just might be the biggest around. More domestic beers line another wall.
The owner figures that the beer coolers at Missie's Discount Liquors, 11938 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee, just might be the biggest around. More domestic beers line another wall. The Kansas City Star

Missie Scott, owner of Missie’s Discount Liquor in Shawnee, shrugs and says she doesn’t know if her store has the state’s largest number of coolers. Maybe not the state’s largest, but possibly Johnson County’s.

Scott’s 53 coolers dwarf Gomer’s 21 coolers at the 87th Street location, and even cavernous Lukas Liquor on 119th Street has only 34, although it does have a walk-in cave as well.

When Missie’s opened in February 2004 it was nowhere near as big, but she says, “Shawnee has been good to us.”

Manager Josh Kerschen chimes in, “We have a loyal customer base. We just get acquainted with them over the years.” Kerschen has worked at Missie’s for a decade.

Before Scott opened the store she was a stay-at-home mother. It wasn’t that she’d always dreamed of opening a liquor store, but she was ready to do something new. She scouted the location in Shawnee’s 10 Quivira Plaza — she’d heard that a liquor store next to a grocery was a winning combination and thought of Price Chopper — and so far it’s been good.

In 2010, she expanded and that’s when she created the two walls of coolers. “I don’t organize them, though, that’s Josh here,” she pauses to gesture to him. “What I organize is a great team. I’m fortunate to have such good people.”

While Bud Lite is still their top-selling item, they sell large quantities of spirits and craft beers. It was after the 2010 upgrade that they added the popular “mix of six,” a way for people to handpick six packs, paying for individual bottles.

“It’s easier to invest $1.89 in something new than it is to buy a whole six-pack for $9.99,” Kerschen says.

In 2012, Kansas liquor laws were amended to allow retailers to serve samples, a great boon for business, Scott says. “Independent reps from Bud and Miller and other companies set up the tastings. Fridays and some Saturday afternoons people can come in and taste products,” she says.

Like the mix of six, “it’s a great way for our customer base to try new products for free. Some of them would never try the stuff that’s set out otherwise,” Kerschen adds.

The products in stock don’t vary a lot, but in the winter people buy more eggnog drinks and liqueurs and summer sees the sale of a lot of shandies.

And when a customer’s favorite, say the Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale, disappears from the shelf, they’re at the mercy of the distributor, which customers don’t understand.

“We can’t just say we want 50 cases — we’ll get seven or whatever the distributor sends,” Kerschen says. Customer requests are common, but he says, “As far as hysteria for our products go, it’s all about the Boulevard.”

Over the summer, when Boulevard released the Crown Town Ale in honor of the Royals, it came and went in the blink of an eye.

Now that Valentine’s Day, is approaching Scott expects to begin receiving calls about Boulevard’s chocolate ale. “People call and then they’ll sit outside and wait for it,” she says.

Most years, she stands a sign out front letting people know if it’s there or not and when it might arrive to save everyone some time. And that time is just around the corner.

To contact Anne Kniggendorf, email akknigg@gmail.com.

Missie’s Discount Liquor

Address: 11938 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee

Contact: 913-962-4893 missiesdiscoutliquors@gmail.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sundays: noon-8 p.m.

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