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Jessica Ballou, Published March 18 2012

It's My Job: Happy Harry's manager has spirited job

Brian Frank has been working at Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop on 45th Street for almost 16 years now.

While he was studying business at Minnesota State University Moorhead, he started working at the north Fargo location part time.

A management position later opened up and he took it. He started working at the 45th Street location right after it was built.

Q: What do you do if someone under the age of 21 enters or tries to buy alcohol?

A: We work closely with the sheriff’s department, and there’s cops in shops, where one (officer) will be in the parking lot, looking for those who are 21 with a valid ID who are buying alcohol and then handing it over to minors, and then another is in the store.

Our policy is that before anything gets scanned or the transaction is started, we ask for an ID. If they can’t present a valid ID, then we ask them to leave. If there’s the cops in shops around, then they will be arrested.

It hasn’t been that big of a problem. ... If they look under 40, we card them.

What were some of the most popular items this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day?

Guinness was very popular and Smithwicks … and Bailey’s Irish cream. The Irish beers did very well.

How do you prepare for big rushes, especially around the holidays?

The busiest time of year is our penny (wine) sale. That’s probably when we’re most heavily staffed … because it’s so overwhelming.

It’s April 26 for two weeks. We do it two times a year, also on Black Friday.

There are probably 200 people lined up at the door before we open at 8.

If you could describe your job using one sentence, what would it be?

It’s exciting and always changing and evolving.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is when someone comes in for a party or workplace get-together, and we help them to best fit their needs.

The gratitude you get back from customers and having them come in over and over again.

It starts with a party, and then they’re a customer for life.

I bet that’s great, then, that customers know you all have a lot of knowledge about all different kinds of alcohol.

Yes. We do employee tastings every two weeks with our staff. We have one on tequila this Tuesday. We have that continuing education with our employees. We’ll meet with the brand manager of, say, José Cuervo, and we’ll tap into that knowledge they have.

Our motto is every customer is our best customer. You treat them all the same.

Is there anything you don’t like about your job?

Retail in general, the worst thing is every holiday is busy. On the holidays, this is your second home.

Are certain times of year busier than others, or is it pretty busy just all the time?

Definitely around the holidays. The busiest times are the penny sales, which are a holiday around here.

Do you get many rowdy people who come in or has that not really been an issue?

We see more people not going out. They buy here, and then they go home and consume it there.

If we do see someone who is obviously intoxicated, we refuse the sale and then try to find them an alternative ride home.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 241-5509