DENVER (KDVR) — Local wine and liquor stores say their sales are down and they’re feeling the impact of Proposition 125.
The bill, which went into effect in early March, allowed for grocery stores to sell wine. And since, liquor stores have been feeling the effects, similar to when full-strength beer was first allowed in grocery stores in Colorado.
Joy’s Wine and Spirits owner Carolyn Joy believes voters only thought of convenience, but not how much it would impact the independently owned liquor and wine stores.
The liquor store has been in her family since 1963 and she said they’ve never seen a hit like this.
“The majority of our business is wine and so the impact of this is greater than any other event since I’ve been here,” she said.
Similarly, Jason Frank owns Crafty’s Wine and Liquor in Aurora, which was targeted by two robberies recently, losing $7,000 in product. He said his wine sales are down 15-20% and, trending worse each month.
Beer sales are worse too, potentially since consumers of beer and wine drinkers no longer have to make a stop at the liquor store at all. Frank says he’s also frustrated by how he says distribution laws have not changed accordingly.
“A grocery store can buy product X significantly cheaper cost than me because of volume. But its artificial volume thresholds set by the distributors. Which was fine when everyone had only one store in Colorado. But now that has changed and the distributors, who are multi-state entities, are negotiating directly on cross-state topics. The independents do not have this same leverage – we cannot band together to pool our purchases via Co-op, we cannot buy each other at scale to form chains, etc. My average delivery is $4,000 of product, a grocery store or grocery store DC order is of magnitude higher for sure – but if their cost is 15% lower than mine per product on a apples to apples basis, that implies the delivery to me was roughly $600 (for a 20-minute stop and 20-30 cases being unloaded) than their delivery (extrapolated for comparable size). That’s not a real cost incurred by the distributors, but instead just additional margin to offset their concessions to the big grocery chain corporate offices.” Frank replied to FOX31 via email.
Joy’s patrons suggested changing business plans, but she said that’s not feasible.
“Why don’t you partake in their game, why don’t you have a deli, why don’t you do all of these things? That takes a lot of capital and also we are limited by space. I don’t have 20 or 50 or 100,000 square feet, I don’t have investors investing in my business,” Joy said.
They both have hope for their small businesses but aren’t sure what will happen.
“We want to put forth that we’re all going to survive this, but I doubt that everyone will survive this,” Joy said.