Chicks on the Right
Indiana GOP Chairman's Liquor Store Purchase Reeks of Shadiness
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Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer is part of a group who purchased 31 liquor stores in the state. Given the Indiana GOP's past relationship to the liquor lobby, the move raises many questions, according to WIBC hosts The Chicks on the Right and Rob Kendall.
An Indianapolis-based investment group has acquired Save-On Liquor, a chain of 31 package liquor stores in seven central Indiana counties.
The Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission gave final approval to the sale last week, said Nate Feltman, one of three partners in Indiana Liquor Group LLC, which was formed to acquire the chain. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Phillip E. Miller started the company in Marion, Indiana, in 1969 with a single store called Millers Liquor Oasis and later changed the name to Save-On as he added locations. Feltman said Miller was ready to retire after 50 years in business.
Indiana Liquor Group is led by David Hartley, the former majority owner of Indianapolis-based medical equipment firm Home Health Depot Inc., which was acquired by Clearwater, Florida-based Lincare Inc. in June 2017.
Feltman, who was Indiana's secretary of commerce from 2006 to 2008, also was a partner in Home Health Depot. He's also a shareholder in IBJ Corp., the publisher of Indianapolis Business Journal.
The other partner in Indiana Liquor Group is attorney Kyle Hupfer, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party and former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The deal includes the real estate for the free-standing stores. Ten of the stores are in Madison County, with locations in Anderson, Pendleton, Elwood and Alexandria. Other locations are in Muncie, Marion, New Castle, Huntington, Gas City and Wabash. The chain has about 120 full-time or part-time employees.
Feltman said the new owners plan to redevelop many of the stores with “quite a bit of upgrades,” and expand the wine, beer and liquor inventory. The group also plans to open new stores, but that will come through the acquisition of existing liquor stores, due to county limits on liquor stores licenses.
Hartley acquired Home Health Depot for $85,000 in 2004 when it had one location in Greenwood and turned it into one of the country's fastest-growing medical companies. It had 12 locations in Indiana and Illinois, and annual revenue of $6.7 million when it was sold to Lincare.
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