Photo: Lisa Bryan

Every shop owner wants attention for a new location, but not this way. On Nov. 27, Buzz liquor store employee Virginia Volz, 58, was found dead behind the counter, from what appeared to be a massive cardiac event. Surveillance cameras recorded the very moment of her collapse. Also captured on video was a male customer who entered the store shortly afterward and appeared to help himself to some liquor.

“It is difficult to imagine he didn’t see her, but the video showed him putting something in his pocket and walking out the door without even calling for help,” said store owner Mavi Macfarlane.

“Whatever caused her death, we can be grateful she didn’t suffer. She died very quickly,” Macfarlane said. “Virginia was very popular with our regulars and had just been promoted to manager. She was a wonder; I just loved her and will miss her very much.”

While the tragic death of Volz was a sad closing to 2017, the year included major positive changes for the business.

There was a time when Key Peninsula Liquor Store had the lock on hard liquor sales as the only state-licensed liquor store this side of Wauna. Macfarlane and her business partner, Josh Comstock, moved the store in October, to a new location on the highway across from Charboneau, renaming it Buzz.

“We wanted to stay on the KP but increased competition at our old location made this a logical move for us,” Macfarlane said. “The Buzz spot is easy for people to swing in on their way home from work.” Macfarlane has owned this space since 2005, housing a number of businesses, some that went on to success elsewhere, others that failed.

Working as a real estate broker at neighboring Better Homes and Land, the new location was ideal. With her home a few miles away, Macfarlane has an enviable commute.

“We love our new location; it’s smaller but cozy. It’s a great location with lots of traffic plus there is a new burger grill called B’s Spot next door,” Macfarlane said.

“We really just want to be the local neighborhood liquor store. We have a lot of nice customers who love the location because it’s handy,” she said. “We carry a wide range of specialty liquors, plus minis, half-pints, pints; we sell half-gallons too. We do special orders and we also keep a close eye on prices to stay competitive.”