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Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm

The move wasn't easy, but it's starting to pay off for new, expanded Stafford Trading Post

post by Victoria Gooch in business, Stafford, Stafford Trading Post

It wasn't easy getting the new Stafford Trading Post location open.

Owner Michelle Macan-Mouery said she had to go through paperwork like you wouldn't believe, most of it dealing with the transfer of her liquor license.

Some applications needed to be filled out multiple times because the ABC was apparently not clear on what it wanted.

staffordtradingpostsign.jpg“Each application was $35, and I had to fill out three of them,” Macan-Mouery said, “the first one I didn’t fill out right, and the second application they sent me was the wrong one.”

She started filling out paperwork in October of 2009 and it took her until May of 2010 to get her liquor license back.

After 14 years running the Stafford Trading Post at a location in a historic building at the intersection of East Main Street Road and Morganville Road in Stafford, Macan-Mouery decided to move her business less than 50 feet, to a brand-new structure right next door.

Those few feet could have been a hundred miles as far as the state was concerned. The state scrutinized every detail of the liquor license transfer, and according to Macan-Mouery, didn't provide a lot of instruction on how to get it done.

"It was difficult because they didn't tell you exactly what they wanted."

Known to her longtime and loyal customers as "Shell," she opened the new location in February and couldn't sell beer for three months while working things out with the state.

“I lost a lot of business when I didn’t have my license."

Less of a problem, as it turned out, was her decision this summer to stop carrying tobacco products. She balked at paying a $1,000 hike in the license fee to sell cigarettes. But those goods have hardly been missed.

“It hasn’t been a problem, and most people go to the reservation to get cigarettes."

Overall, the move of the Stafford Trading Post, which has served Stafford under various owners for generations, has meant a big boost for the deli and convenience store, Macan-Mouery said.

The friendly atmosphere seems to have moved with the business, and expanded space and a seating area have helped boost food sales, but liquor sales remain half of what they were in the old location.

Macan-Mouery grew up in the Stafford area and worked at the Trading Post when she was 11.

She first decided to move because the building was old and needed many repairs and upgrades.

This historic site keeps alive the nostalgia of the corner store and makes you feel like you should be purchasing pickles out of a barrel," she said.

But it was no longer meeting customers' needs.

“It wasn’t handicapped accessible and the interior needed a lot of work, and since it is a historic landmark we couldn't change the outside to make it handicapped accessible."

Macan-Mouery has some advice for people that are thinking about moving their business; “you need to know in a year advance that you want to move -- and be sure -- because in New York State you have to start from the beginning.”

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