Change brewing at liquor stores

30 Apr 2018

Joe Audette named Elk River’s liquor operations manager

Changes are brewing in the Westbound and Northbound liquor stores in Elk River.

After serving thirsty residents for the past 18 years, Dave Potvin retired in December. Under Potvin’s leadership, the Elk River municipal liquor operation became one of the state’s leaders in customer satisfaction and profitability.

The reputation and positive community impact were among a number of factors alluring to Joe Audette, the new manager hired in January.

Audette is a Rush City native and most recently managed the municipal liquor operation in Windom, Minnesota. While both cities have liquor operations, that is where many of the commonalties end. Located in southwestern Minnesota, Windom is home to about 4,500 residents and their Riverbend Liquor Store is the only off-sale vendor within 20 miles. Audette, a self-described gregarious sort, focused on customer service, value and innovation to get customers in the door and bring them back.

“It’s hard to hide in a small community when you are 6-foot-3 with a distinctive, long, brown beard and an affinity for craft beer!” said Audette.

He was very active in the Windom community, serving as the Chamber of Commerce president and working with local community groups. He also currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, an organization charged to promote and support municipal operations. Under his leadership, Riverbend Liquor received national recognition for innovative educational and product taste testing programs.

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