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Varsity Liquors Returns After Two-Year Hiatus

By Kristine M. Zaleskas

After an almost two-year hiatus from the Harvard Square area, Varsity Liquors has opened at a new location on Eliot Street.

The liquor store, which had provided alchohol to Harvard Square residents for over 51 years before its 1988 closing, opened its doors again early this month.

The store's owner, William Lyons, said business was slow at first, but he added that it has "picked up tremendously" in the past week. Publicity for the reopening has been limited primarily to fliers, an advertisement in the Square Deal and word-of-mouth, according to Lyons.

Varsity's reopening will eliminate the relative monopoly on liquor sales that Harvard Provisions has enjoyed for the past two years.

But Harvard Provisions' employee Martin Connealy yesterday welcomed Varsity's reopening as an example of free enterprise. "There's room for competition in the Square" for liquor sales, said Connealy.

The original Varsity Liquors, which had the prime location next door to the Wursthaus Restaurant for more than half a century, closed in May 1988. At that time, the Lyons', who have owned and operated the establishment since 1953, blamed the store's shut-down on a rent increase.

Despite a location less visible than its predecessor, the new store has its strong points, according to Lyons, who cited particularly its more spacious and modern--and more affordable--floor space.

Lyons predicts that the larger store will enable the establishment to expand its sales to include more wines, soft drinks and maybe the State Lottery, options which were not available for the smaller, more cramped Mass Ave. store.

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