When Dick Scheer closed Village Corner on South University last November to make way for a high-rise apartment building, he put his 5,000 bottles of wine in storage and announced that Village Corner was in hibernation. Eleven months later, VC woke from its long sleep in a new location in the Courtyard Shops on Plymouth Rd.

The new VC is on the edge of North Campus, with free parking. On the other hand, it’s considerably smaller than the old one, with room for 2,000 wines instead of 5,000. In October Scheer was still in start-up mode, so for the moment the store is open only until 7 p.m., though Scheer says the staff hangs around for a good hour or so after they close in case a customer comes knocking. He’s actively soliciting customer input, and plans to let them tell him how late he needs to stay open and what they aren’t finding at other area stores. “We’ll roll with the market,” he says.

The wine inventory won’t be as eclectic, because on South U Scheer had other wine buyers working for him who bought according to their own sometimes offbeat taste. Scheer’s doing all his own buying now and closing out a number of wines he didn’t especially like. Still, with everything he put in storage, “I’ve got wine all over the place,” he says. He sampled bottles during their months in climate-controlled storage to make sure they were still good. “The wines are in fine fettle,” he says.

The new VC also carries about 600 varieties of spirits, 300 beers, and a couple of hundred different cigars. Unlike its previous incarnation, though, this one doesn’t stock groceries, save for snacks, candy, cookies, and a full display of cheeses.

So far, old customers are having no problem finding their way to the new location. Scheer credits that to good word-of-mouth and to the online business he did during VC’s hiatus and plans to continue. He’s got at least 100 new wines available online every week and another 50,000 or more available through his wholesalers.

During the hiatus, Scheer went to wine trade shows, compiling lists of wines he wanted to carry, and hosted wine-tasting dinners at local restaurants through VC’s Tasters Guild program (which is ongoing). But he spent most of the past eleven months trying to find a new space–not an easy task, because there were few locations to which he could transfer his retail liquor license. State law prohibits liquor stores from locating within a half-mile of each other. “Ann Arbor’s just not that big,” he says.

So how did Scheer manage to set up shop right across the street from Northside Liquor? He discovered he could be that close to another liquor store if the two businesses were separated by a four-lane road. Still, Scheer had to go to court to get a waiver. There, he discovered VC’s situation was far from unique. “There are thirty-two off-premises liquor licenses in town,” he says. “And eighteen of them are within half a mile of each other.” He laughs. “There are a lot of four-lane waivers.”

Village Corner, 1747 Plymouth Rd. (Courtyard Shops). 995-1818. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.