New liquor law mixed bag for locally owned shops. Local liquor store owners speak up about the changes

Staff Writer

While consumers are voicing appreciation for changes in state liquor laws to allow high point beer and wines to be sold in grocery and convenience stores, it's a mix of good and not so good for locally owned liquor stores.
On Oct. 1, the State of Oklahoma made the full switch over to new laws put into motion last year by voters. While grocery and convenience stores are able to sell stronger beer and wines, liquor stores can now sell additional items previously prohibited by state law. Mixers, sodas, ice and gift items are part of the fare that may now pop up in locally owned shops.

On Tuesday afternoon, GAB's Bottle in a Bag in Guymon celebrated its new cooler space, The Iceberg, with a ribbon cutting along with ambassadors from the Guymon Chamber of Commerce. The unique space has single beer items in the front, or shoppers can go inside the cooler for multi-pack offerings and enjoy textured walls painted to look like an aurora borealis. Gordon Gahagan, one of the three owners of the family-owned establishment says work started to remodel and prepare for the changes a year ago.

Shea Krier at Dancer's Fine Wine and Liquor is also in the process of getting new offerings on the shelves for customers. Alcohol related gift items, mixers, a beer pong kit, and more are being added in store. An ice machine sits out front to allow customers the opportunity to grab a bag of ice when they stop by to pick up their drinks, and she says she'll have gift baskets for purchase. A cooler is on order to place in the store to chill the beer, and a soda cooler is already set up inside the shop. Customers can even grab a small shopping cart to tote their intended purchases around the store.

However, even with new offerings, some things will cause the store to take a hit. In the case of the Stella Rosa wines on her shelves, Krier has had to reduce the price and take a loss in hopes of selling the wine. Due to a case deal Walmart made with distributors, the store is able to sell the brand at a lower price than the local shops who have purchased and sold the label faithfully for years.

Krier cited several other concerns which can be found in an article in Thursday's edition of the GDH. Be sure to pick one up at news stands for more information on what the new liquor law pros and cons seem to be for local liquor stores.


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