The NSLC – Past, Present and Future
The NSLC story begins in the late 1920’s – when Nova Scotians voted in favour of retailing beverage alcohol. This movement paved the way for the establishment of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission on May 1, 1930.
Back in the day, shopping at the NSLC wasn’t the kind of experience that it is today. Stores resembled banks with sales clerks behind metal wickets and having a personal liquor permit was the only way to obtain any kind of beverage alcohol. Browsing was unheard of. Special offers were non-existent. Back then, stores were oddly discreet without exterior signage; the outlets were sterile and uninviting. A far cry from the NSLC we know today. Despite the disadvantages, by the end of 1930, the NSLC had grown to 33 stores across the province.
By the 1960’s there were 62 stores across Nova Scotia and the face of the NSLC began to change. Stores started to transform from counter style stores to the self serve concept. Store-front signs became the norm and in 1965 the personal liquor permit was eliminated.
The next decade was a decade of change. Customer demand fuelled the conversion of existing counter stores to the self serve concept. Reshaping continued in the 1980’s as customer’s sophistication increased and more products became available. In 1984, the NSLC opened the first Canadian airport liquor store. By the 1990’s, NSLC stores became increasingly convenient and customer friendly. Service delivery and innovation, backed by market research, led to a number of new initiatives and several firsts in the beverage alcohol industry. In 1991 NSLC conceived the Consumer Guide and In-store Customer Tasting program; in the following year the NSLC introduced the first drive through liquor store; and by 1993 the NSLC introduced another Canadian first: the liquor store within a grocery store. The decade proved triumphant.
The new millennium ignited significant change for the NSLC. In 2001, the NSLC changed from a Commission to a Crown Corporation. The shift broadened many elements, stimulating further developments. The NSLC became increasingly focused on customer service delivery and innovation and by 2004; the organization began developing its comprehensive strategy. In its execution the corporation was rebranded and the new NSLC was born.
The Present Today, there are 106 stores across the province, generating more than a half billion dollars annually. Stores continue to evolve as new concepts for layout, customer service and merchandising modernize. The NSLC shopping experience has come a long way over the last 80 years.
The NSLC has transformed from being a place to buy something to a place to shop. Consistent throughout NSLC history, is the mandate to manage the sale of beverage alcohol in a responsible manner.
The Future As the NSLC continues to grow you’re invited to experience the NSLC evolution. Online. In the community. And at your local NSLC store.