Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Convenience Store Liquor Sales

Sat in on part of the discussion regarding allowing convenience stores and gas stations to acquire liquor licenses to sell beer and wine. Predictably, convenience stores were in favor of it and exiting package liquor stores opposed it.

Trace Brown, owner of Marketplace Shell on the east side of Carbondale, said he had building the business with the expectation that he would in the future be allowed to sell beer and wine and that he needed to do so in order to make the business profitable over the long term.  He planned to start collecting signatures from customers asking that the ordinance be changed to allow him to do so.

Representatives from the Hucks and Caseys chains spoke as well to point out that they sold beer and wine in stores in a number of communities surrounding Carbondale with few,if any, incidents reported.

A number of representatives from existing package liquor stores spoke in opposition to any change. Their main point was that their sales had dropped anywhere from 25-50% since the council had voted to license grocery stores to sell beer and wine and that expanding the licensing to convenience stores would likely drive them out of business. Quite a few supporters of the liquor stores were in the audience as the plea to the council to help them stay in business drew the only applause I heard.

This session was only for discussion of the proposed chance in licensing and to get comments from local businesses and residents.  The council will take up the issue of changing the ordinance later.

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