Op-ed, Mike Moon from Osawatomie, Kansas: Let Grocery Stores Sell Liquor

Grocery store owner Mike Moon of Osawatomie, Kansas, submits the following article.  Moon writes in favor of allowing grocery stores greater abilities to sell alcohol.  He references a study authored by KU economic Dr. Art Hall, “An Economic Case for Increased Competition in the Sale of Beer, Wine and Spirits in the State of Kansas” (PDF).

Mike Moon’s article:

In “Alcohol study offers food for thought,” The Topeka Capital-Journal takes a closer look at the recent study released by Dr. Art Hall.  The piece characterizes Hall’s finding that updating laws on the sale of beer, wine and spirits would create 15,000 jobs saying it “sound(s) like quite an awful lot of jobs.” Well, they’re absolutely right.  It IS a lot of jobs!  That’s why supermarket and other business owners, employees, associations, and consumers are firmly standing behind legislation that would update laws on the sale of beer, wine and spirits in the state of Kansas.

Hall’s study found grocery and convenience stores directly support about 13 times more employees than liquor stores – 2,731 compared to 35,770.  By providing these stores with an additional boost, they would have the potential create significantly more jobs and revenue than would liquor stores.

Take the QuikTrip example.  When it closed its doors in Kansas and reopened down the road in Missouri, profits skyrocketed.  Stand-alone liquor stores do not produce this kind of economic impact.

The retail grocery business is an ever-evolving industry.  Consumer habits and demands change; federal and state ordinances change; competition is fierce.  To survive in business, you must constantly change and look for ways to expand your business.  This is the basis for a free enterprise market.

But in Kansas, food retailers are prohibited from doing so under current regulations.  Numerous stores have closed.  With these closures, the community itself weakens as a business destination. As consumers drive to neighboring cities and towns to purchase these goods and services, they take their other local spending dollars with them. Passing this legislation gives grocers the ability to shore up sagging or declining sales with a new department that can contribute immediately to covering the cost of overhead.

Dr. Hall’s study is on point.  If retailers like me are able to enjoy the benefits of a free enterprise economy, then jobs will be created, profit will grow, stores will expand, and local and state tax collections will increase. All of this results in positive economic growth for Kansas.

Mike Moon and his wife own and operate two grocery stores in Kansas, one in Osawatomie and one in Humboldt. They reside in Osawatomie, KS.

You can watch a video interview of Mr. Moon at Brian Johnson’s thoughtful site Principally Political, a blog that I recommend you bookmark and visit again.  Johnson writes:

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reported last year, rural Kansas is losing its grocery stores. The story offers this thought:

“Fifty-one percent of the 675 Kansas cities and towns do not have a grocery store,” said David Procter, director of the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development. “Since 2007, 82 of the 213 grocery stores in Kansas communities of less than 2,500 have closed their doors.”

The reason? Grocery stores have high overhead: not only the facility rent, but energy use such as lighting and refrigeration, employee salary and benefits, and advertising. As energy prices go up and shoppers take-home pay is going down, grocery stores seem to be the first ones to go. Added to the insult is that Kansas law does not permit grocery stores to sell liquor or full strength beer.

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Connect with Hodge at FacebookHodge’s Web siteTwitterYouTubeKansans for State and Local Reform, and Kansas Progress. Hodge served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, as a member of the Kansas Housefrom 2007-’08, and as a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Press Association, the NRA, Kansans for Life, the Kansas Broadcasters Association, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

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