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It appears Wegmans is ramping up its strategy of opening liquor stores next to its supermarkets.

Wegmans plans to build 15,000 square foot retail spaces adjacent to its Mt. Read and Amherst stores. Wegmans claims it hasn’t decided who will lease the stores.

The Democrat and Chronicle reports on the Mt. Read location:

(Spokeswoman Jo) Natale said no decisions about a retailer had yet been made.

“And there’s no timeline on what we might build there,” she said. “It is our intention, though, to certainly do the roadwork there sometime next year, but we don’t have any firm plans for what the retail space would be used for.”

The Buffalo News reported on the Amherst location:

“We can’t specify what type of retail store it would be, but there are about 20 possible uses for it,” Martin Herrmann, of Wegmans Site Development Group, told those gathered in Assumption Church Hall.

One of the operators of Gates Circle Wine & Liquors, a few blocks away at 1430 Delaware Ave., wasn’t stumped.

“It’s going to be a liquor store,” Shannon Carscallen predicted, “and we’re going to do what we can to fight it.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out these will likely be liquor stores. Companies don’t go through the trouble of knocking down houses and getting town approvals to build things for the heck of it.

Wegmans has long rented space in its plazas to liquor stores. Controversy ensues when the stores are owned by Wegman family members. Most recently, the sister of Danny Wegman moved her store, Whitehouse Liquor, from Monroe Avenue to space next to the Marketplace Wegmans.

Critics say the Wegman family is violating the spirit of state laws prohibiting liquor store chains and barring supermarkets from selling wine and liquor. Competitors also allege the Wegman family uses the same liquor reps and could be violating rules prohibiting individual liquor stores from making group buys. Wegmans insist the family members own their stores independently.

Whatever you think of state liquor laws, the little guys want Wegmans to follow the same rules. Wegmans has lost the wine-in-grocery store fight (for now), so the next frontier could be getting the state to allow multiple liquor licenses. In other words – chains.

Links of the Day:

– Wegmans is pushing into the Washington, D.C. market. One store has a very “crab-like” focus.

– Wealth is being redistributedupward.

– Are we putting too much faith into college rankings?

– Don Alhart is in a Louise Slaughter ad. He had no choice.

– Wanna renew your vows? Rochester is holding a mass ceremony at High Falls.

10 Responses to No Mystery

  1. This is an issue why, and needs you to blog about it why?

    • September 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Because we have laws. Wegmans is a big corporation and has to follow the laws. There are legitimate concerns Wegmans has a de facto liquor store chain.

      Further, the issue of wine in grocery stores is of great interest to many.

    • I don’t understand why it’s a problem to blog about whatever you want to blog about. No one forces anyone to read anything. I agree with Rachel, many people take interest in this issue because it is a big corporation going against the little guys and using their infrastructure and employees for logistical purposes in doing business. If they are not following the same laws as everyone else in the liquor business, something is wrong there. It needs to be highlighted, and as a Greece native and I’m glad people like Rachel are stepping up to do just that. Wegmans should buy back their old space they left at the Britton Road site and turn that into something useful and try to compete against Walmart, instead of just walking away and backing down from them. Why not try to branch out and make mini “organic” stores more like Trader Joes and Whole Foods? That space would be perfect for something along those lines. No, instead they just find loop holes in the State liquor laws and push out the other local mom and pop businesses.

  2. September 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm Havahd St responds:

    I agree, I really don’t see the problem with Wegmans getting into the liquor store business. I really don’t understand why we even need liquor stores, just change the law and sell all consumables in one place! Other places do it and it works out just fine, although at least we can buy beer in gas stations instead of “packies” like other ridiculous states.

  3. September 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm Edward Richards responds:

    Whoever thinks there are loops in the laws are probably lobbysist and law makers fresh out of law school.

  4. September 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm Edward Richards responds:

    This liquor store has got me thinking. Thinking I should start drinking.
    What is this going to turn into, “liquor you feel good about”? I am not sure about this.

    I’m confused.

  5. Great article — I’m glad you’re covering this! But it’s the Amherst Street Wegmans in Buffalo, not Amherst, the suburb. As it happens, it’s “my” Wegmans 🙂 Although I do most of my shopping at PriceRite in the Elmwood Village, as it’s walkable for me.

  6. My thoughts….I like shopping at Wegmans. I like quality and fair prices. I like clean stores and fast checkout. I live in Fairport and shop at Lisa’s in Penfield. Great prices, stock, and service. So what’s the issue? Wegman’s, the company, is local and a great employer. If their family members want to engage in the spirit business and provide the same quality and prices, I’m all for it. I don’t understand the targeting of successful businesses as being bad.

  7. October 2, 2012 at 7:14 am Animule responds:

    “Critics say the Wegman family is violating the spirit of state laws prohibiting liquor store chains and barring supermarkets from selling wine and liquor.”

    Good for Wegmans. These laws exist largely to stifle competition, drive up prices and create an artificial set of competitors in a market – those companies deemed “approved” by the state. The fact that Wegmans is ingenious enough to have figured out work-arounds to arcane state laws governing the sale of wine and liquor should be applauded.

    The “little guys” have been gouging us for decades. If states like Illinois can sell wine in grocery stores, I’m sure we can too – and survive. The state needs to be less involved in this business.

  8. January 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm Draw Dr Sevard responds:

    2 years ago Wegman bankrolled an ill conceived “wine in grocery” bill that would have closed most locally owned wine shops and local wineries. Now he wants to own a liquor store in Black Rock? He is quite a piece of work. Lets keep the wine stores owned locally and run by neighborhood people.

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