Change in law would devastate liquor stores

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By The Staff

I have been a businessman in Evergreen since 1962. Evergreen Drug Company was an important institution in the history of Evergreen. During 2005 I became frustrated because of the burdensome managed-care regulations, third-party prescriptions and shrinking profit margins and chose to close Evergreen Drug. The same situation happened to most independently owned drugstores, and consequently chain stores have taken over the prescription business.

I am proud to live in Evergreen and to give back to the community while trying to offer the community the best retail store with personal service and a wide selection of merchandise. I opened Evergreen Discount Liquors in the same location that was previously occupied by the drugstore. Today I, as well as other independent liquor store owners, will be faced with a similar dilemma of going out of business if grocery stores and convenience stores will be allowed to sell high-percentage beer.

Grocery and convenience stores are trying to change the law that will permit them to sell full-strength beer. Most liquor stores are operating on such a small margin that any decrease in sales will force them out of business. It is unfair to change the rules that will endanger the personal investments that liquor store owners have made.

The economy is already bad, and many liquor store owners are already struggling to stay profitable. Nothing good can happen if the law is changed to allow grocery stores to sell high-percent beer except more profit for the out-of-state-owned chain stores and corporations.

If only liquor stores are allowed to sell high-percentage beer as they do now, the small businesses like mine can keep their profits and money in Colorado. Large out-of-state-owned chain stores and corporations buy many of their supplies from national distributors; thus, their profits don’t necessarily stay in Colorado.

It is better for our community and the state if the law does not change. I take responsibility of not selling to minors very seriously, and I do not allow minors to work in the store. I am a responsible small-business owner with much to lose if I sell to minors. If a grocery or convenience store sells to minors, the store will not be closed; it just won’t be able to sell beer for a short while. My entire liquor store may be closed if I sell to minors.

I firmly believe that it would be better for our community, as well as for Colorado, that the rules do not change. I am asking for everyone’s support on this matter.

Edward Skaff is the owner of Evergreen Discount Liquors.