Meet You There


December, 2015

Lacombe Park Spirits

at a Glance

Location: 202, 506A St. Albert Trail

Owners: Karem El-Halaby, Jeff Halaby, Sam Halabi and Raad Choufi

Specialties: Product knowledge and selection

Interesting Facts: They host a tasting event (usually wine) every Friday starting at 4 p.m. Find out what they’ll be pouring each week on Facebook or Twitter. They also offer a case-lot discount: buy a case, and save 15%.


A liquor store can be a perplexing place: a blur of vintages and varietals; single malts and blends; silvers, golds and extra olds. Finding the best bottle can feel like trying to solve the most impossible riddle while 15 minutes late for a dinner party. Luckily, in St. Albert we have Lacombe Park Spirits, a family-run liquor store that’s equipped to help with any booze-buying conundrum.

Brothers Karem El-Halaby and Jeff Halaby bought Lacombe Park Spirits 12 years ago. The pair was looking for a business to run together and found the store for sale in the Edmonton Journal. “The ad only ran for one day,” says Karem. “We liked the layout of the store and that it was in a safe community. We saw a lot of potential and saw how we could grow the business.”

So Karem left his 22-year career in digital communications, and Jeff gave up real estate. The brothers went to work in the 1,830-square-foot space. “Working with family can be the best and the worst,” laughs Jeff. “You can say and do anything you want—you never have to hold back. It makes for a much stronger business.”

In a competitive industry like retail, the stronger the better. Since the business opened, at least 10 more liquor stores have popped up nearby. What’s kept the brothers afloat has been their commitment to customers. “We have loyal customers who come in regularly,” says Karem. “When people come in, we want them to have a special experience,” adds Jeff. “Not every liquor store is the same. You can get a deal anywhere, but here you’re greeted by someone with product knowledge who’s willing to help you. We’re proud of that.”

Recently, Karem and Jeff welcomed their cousins, Sam Halabi and Raad Choufi, as part-owners of the store. Jeff took on a new endeavor in the restaurant industry, so they needed more help. “We wanted the business to stay family-run,” says Karem. “We are owners who actively work in the business; we all take shifts at the store.” And that translates to efficiency and product knowledge.

“We have over 100 bottles for sampling,” says Karem. “If there’s an 80-dollar Scotch on the shelf, and you don’t want to spend that amount if you’re not sure, you can try it first. Or we can find you a 40-dollar bottle that’s also good quality.” If a customer comes in looking for a product the store doesn’t carry, Karem says they’ll order it for them. “We bring in product that’s not available everywhere […] we try to offer better products for good prices—you should be able to get a good tequila or bourbon or gin without spending big dollars.”

Both Karem and Jeff agree that the best thing about running a business in St. Albert is the clientele, who they proudly serve and keep in good spirits. t8n



Saving on Spirits

Lacombe Park Spirits has a points-per-spend loyalty program where customers can earn up to $25 to spend in-store.



Did You Know?

Lacombe Park Spirits was one of the first liquor stores to get on-board with the craft beer craze. They started stocking their cooler with craft beer about eight years ago and haven’t stopped. What do they have in store next? A growler station. Stay tuned, beer aficionados.


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