Our History


In 1968 the city of Boulder went wet. Nine months before the election took place, Tom Lacey a CU graduate from Longmont Colorado sensed the inevitable and got a lease to the old Safeway at 1712 Pearl Street. The night of the election Tom Lacey was the first person to apply for a Liquor license and opened the first retail liquor store within the city limits of Boulder that year.

All of the local friends of Tom told him and his wife Gail "You’re going to lose everything!" Tom would reply, "We don’t have anything to lose!"

When Lacey opened up Liquor Mart, he wanted to change the way Liquor stores conduct their business. Instead of putting the product behind the employee booth, they put all of the products on shelves in aisles so the customers could reach for and hold the products in their hands. The store was a success and hired 10-15 employees and was about 1/4 of the size the store is today. Even though it was smaller, it was the largest liquor store in Boulder County and one of the largest in the country. Tom Lacey never underestimated the power of the customer. While other liquor store’s made the competition their business, Tom made pleasing the customer his business. This philosophy worked, and he found himself ready to expand to a larger location.

In 1973 Joyce’s grocery store, Boulders only supermarket in the downtown area closed, and Lacey who used to work at Joyce’s in college as a cashier jumped on the opportunity and applied to move locations. That year, Lacey got approval from the city’s Liquor Licensing authority to move locations from 1712 Pearl Street to 1750 15th Street where Liquor Mart still resides today.

In 1981, Tom Lacey passed away in a plane crash in Canada’s northwest territories during a fishing trip, and in 1982 Liquor Mart was sold to a group of community minded local investors. That year, they hired Jack Stoakes as the general manager.

Jack Stoakes came to Liquor Mart with a well-rounded background in retail management and on a mission to provide quality beverages at great prices to the community, as well as being more involved within the community. He started supporting a vast amount of events that were meaningful to Boulder. Since then Liquor Mart has supported hundreds of non-profits in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.

Jack Stoakes much like Tom Lacey knew the importance of customer service and continued to offer great prices and a vast selection that was consistently changing to Boulder's sophisticated palate.

Liquor Mart has since become a Boulder staple in the community. The store employs 65 employees and has expanded to 32,500 square feet on two levels. We are still the store with the largest selection of different products in Boulder County.