ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Owners of small, independent liquor stores in central Florida are asking customers to support their efforts urging the governor to veto a bill allowing the sale of spirits in grocery stores.
A proposal nicknamed the “Whiskey and Wheaties Bill” (SB 106) would allow grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor alongside wine, beer and other products. Gov. Rick Scott could sign the bill into law, after it passed the Florida Legislature last month with a one-vote margin in the House.
Since Prohibition ended, Florida law has required retailers to sell liquor apart from other products in side stores separated by a wall.
Independent liquor store owners opposed the bill, saying supermarkets and big box stores could drive them out of business as they gradually add liquor to their shelves, starting in 2018.
“Not only do they have a price and convenience advantage, but grocery stores will have the power to kick us out when our lease is up,” Bully’s Liquor owner Steve Park told the Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2qbhaAj ). “If our landlord had to choose between us and the grocery store next door, we would be gone.”
At Park’s stores last week, employees asked every customer to sign the petition…