Local liquor stores react to compromise wine proposal

11:20 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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The vote to allow wine in grocery stores may have failed in the state House earlier this month, but legislators aren't done talking about potential changes to liquor laws in Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved two amendments to the bill. One would allow liquor stores to open on Sundays.

David Purvis of of Farragut Wine and Spirits says an extra day of sales will not increase business.

"So what they're trying to do is come back and appease us, we don't necessarily want to be open on Sunday. We're small business," he explained. "

"What's it going to do to our sales? It's going to distribute our Saturday and our Monday sales partially into Sunday and our overhead goes up because we have to staff the business just for incremental change in sales."

Another amendment to the bill allows stores to sell more than liquor. That, too, has received an unwelcoming response to some business owners.

"This stores been here since 1970 as a liquor store. It's got a set footprint," said Thad Cox, Jr. of Ashe's Wine and Spirits. "We're independent owners across the state, and we sell nothing else. It's a system that's been in place for a long time, and it works."

As for the large part of public opinion in favor of the wine-in-grocery bill, Cox says there is some misunderstanding about the legislation.

"There's a lot more behind the issue than just convenience. People may not understand that, but there really is. There's all kinds of laws in place."

The Senate Finance Committee approved the two amendments Tuesday. Lawmakers put off a final vote for another week, still unsure if the measure will get to the Senate floor.

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