Liquor Stores Fear Failing Business if Tennessee Wine Bill Passes

Liquor Stores Fear Failing Business if Tennessee Wine Bill Passes

Many liquor store owners in Tennessee went into the business because they knew they had an exclusive market. Now many fear their businesses won't survive if wine is offered in grocery stores.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - After years of trying, a bill to get wine in Tennessee grocery stores has its first victory. A Senate and Local Government Committee voted 5 to 4 on Tuesday to advance the bill.

Marina Pakis takes pride in selecting wines for Kimbrough Wines and Spirits in midtown Memphis, and she knows every bottle on the shelves. "If you go into Kroger there probably won't be a wine expert on what you need to buy," she says.

However, many Tennessee shoppers are just after convenience. Timothy Endsley says, "You should be able to get it all in one spot."

Spencer Armour agrees, "I don't see why we haven't had it for years. In all the other states I spend time in they have it."

The wine in grocery stores bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee before heading for a full floor vote. If passed, the measure would allow voters in individual municipalities to say where they can buy their wine. Endsley says it would get his vote, "Excellent, they should sell everything."

However many liquor store owners went into the business because they knew they had an exclusive market. "We feel the small package stores will be vulnerable," Pakis says, "some of them will not survive."

Now Pakis says they will fight to keep this bill from going any further. "It's a David and Goliath situation, it's like how Walmart has affected small business across the U.S., the big box stores have closed up a lot of small mom and pop business."

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