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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.