NORMAN — Joe Sterr was in the grocery business before deciding that Norman needed a larger retail liquor store and he was the guy to build it. In 1976 Sterr opened the Spirit Shop at Main St. and Berry Rd. on real estate that had once been a private residence with a nearby service station. He has been in operation there ever since and is now partners in the enterprise with his son Matthew Sterr. The Spirit Shop remodeled and expanded two decades ago but this year they have just completed an even grander renovation and updating of the entire structure inside and out.
“We needed the room,” Sterr said. “The store was getting to the point that it was so full of merchandise that you couldn’t turn around.”
The difference is dramatic. Once-narrow crowded aisles have been replaced by spacious walkways and attractively displayed shelves of merchandise. Inventory essentially hasn’t increased, it’s just spread out over more territory.
“We started out with 4,800 square feet and have not quite doubled the floor space,” Sterr said.
Norman’s Barret L. Williamson Architects was chosen to design the new structure with senior architect Alan Moring presiding. “They drew up plans and got everything approved by the city,” Sterr said. “I want to salute the city because they were so much easier to work with now than they were 20 years ago.”
Norman was quick to send code enforcement inspectors out and didn’t overly complicate the regulatory process. Red Sun Construction Co. Inc. of Norman was the building contractor. Work began in Sept. 2012 and the finishing touches are being wrapped up now. The retail business remained open throughout the process.
“First thing Red Sun did was break out the old parking lot,” Sterr said. “Then they poured the slab for the new portion of the store.”