Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If You're Interested In Liquor At Wegmans . . .

. . . you should check out some Twitter feeds.  The county liquor board is meeting tonight.

Andrew Metcalf of the Columbia Patch is live-tweeting and quoting comments from the speakers.  The biggest revelation is that the store would be 90% owned by the husband of Wegmans' president.  The guy who posted earlier would just own 10%.

(Update: Metcalf wrote about the meeting on the Patch.  You can also read David Greisman's piece in Explore Howard where he summarized the meeting -- which has been extended into June.)

14 comments:

Rick said...

Not a surprise at all. Word is they own a portion of the store outside their Hunt Valley location as well.

Len said...

I see no problems with it

Anonymous said...

And their Syracuse location as well.

Marcia said...

Of course Wegmans owns a stake. You do not think they'd just give up control of valuable real estate do you?

P90 Noir said...

I wrote a rather long rant about this over on my blog, but here is the jist.

Did all of these stores close down when IM Wine and Perfect Pour opened a few years and brought HoCo liquor stores out of the stone ages? No. IM Wine isn’t my neighborhood store. I go there because they have a knowledgeable staff that answers phone calls and e-mails and keeps me posted on when beer and wine I’m seeking will be available.

All of these cry baby stores need to stop wasting energy fighting the Wegmans store and spend sometime improving their own inventory, operations, and customer service.

Marcia said...

Exactly, P90 Noir. Treat your customers well and they will be loyal to you. If you are worried about a new player to the game, then you likely are not doing that.

But the beverage industry is a big lobby. With big money.

Wegmans beat the unions and others once and got the permits to build their grocery store. Maybe they can do it again.

UhOhBadDog said...

Have to agree. The Big Box vs. Small Store argument holds little water with me. Up your game folks.

Not to mention, the testimony that this store will somehow result int Kings Contrivance liquor store being run out of business? Really, you think you'll lose your current local/convenience customer? Did Costco or Sam's Club somehow to blame for the old Safeway closing and being replaced by a Harris Teeter?

Bad for business, RIGHT...

Anonymous said...

The local (and non-local) stores that testified against the store at Wegmans are not entitled to protection from a larger competitor. That is simple free market economy basics. The liquor board’s rules and regulations, which reference state law, do allow it to consider the potential impact to existing businesses. There are factors other factors that can help and hurt the applicant. I don’t think something like the unknown “potential” should be given much weight.

The stores that testified were just speculating about what might happen to their businesses. They can’t really say what the impact is until after the store has opened and they can compare sales over an extended period of time to past sales. They don’t know what the store will stock and what their prices will be. If I don’t like the selection and prices I will shop elsewhere.

The Perfect Pour moved into a location that is very close to Waterloo Liquors. They didn’t care about the impact to that store. They had a location that was going to get more business because it was in a busy shopping center. Now another store wants to open in a busy location and they aren’t happy about it. I rarely go to The Perfect Pour because of their high prices.

I don’t have an issue about the ownership of the store. State law only precludes a chain store from having a license. In my opinion it doesn’t preclude a separately owned and operated liquor store from sharing the same building with a chain.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that The Perfect Pour pulled their message from their Facebook page that was asking for support from it's customers against Wegman's. I think it surprised them that the 30 some reponses mostly told The Perfect Pour to embrace competition.

P90 Noir said...

Yes, it was quite funny that Perfect Pour tried to get their followers to petition against the new store.

Perfect Pour has the most to lose in this game. Considering the price gouging they've been doing on "limited release" beers, a store with similar inventory but better pricing could do them in.

And on a side note, remember when Five Guys was opening up and Red Robin, Cheeburger Cheeburger, and Fudd Ruckers banded together to keep them from opening? Oh wait, that didn't happen? Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I go to the perfect pour because 1) The people are nice 2) the beer selection is great.

The prices are crazy though, Jameson 18 year is $110 there and $85 at Corridor in Laurel. And some of their beers are $1-4 more than Corridor. However, the Perfect Pour is less than a minute from my house, so it wins on that. Big purchases, I'll drive to Laurel though.

Tim said...

Regardless of what I think about the Maryland or Howard County blue laws, fact is, they exist. This arrangement, where Wegman's (or the CEO's husband's Delaware shell corporation... tomayto, tomahto) owns 90% of the liquor store business, makes an end-run around the law. There is a process for changing the law if you don't like it. This isn't it. I'm afraid I cannot support the new store under this arrangement. If it was wholly independent, and someone was just paying Wegman's the rent on the floor space... fine. Open up shop. Watch me care. But this? No. The law isn't just for people who can't afford good lawyers.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with Tim. This is just Wegmans(of which I'm a huge fan) using their money and muscle to go around Maryland laws. I have no stake with local stores, I do all of my shopping at Corridor, and I would love to see a store at Wegmans, it still seems clear to me they are just going around the rules.

P90 Noir said...

I disagree guys. I think it was clever on their part. It does not appear that they are breaking any laws. They might be skirting them, but they are not breaking them.

And if it goes through and doesn't cause any harm (and I can't imagine it will) then it would make a great stepping stone for fixing some of our painfully outdated liquor laws.