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Bob Ross

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New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Bob Ross » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:41 pm

From Joel Mitchel, Beekmans Wines, Glen Rock:

Small Wine Retailers Need Your Help.

Please take the time from your busy day to read this.

My e-mails are usually designed to inform you about new wines that have come in or that will be tasted on a Saturday. This e-mail is different. If you care about the future of small, independently owned wine shops like Beekmans and others in the area, please take the time to read this and act on it.

Since 1962, New Jersey has not allowed any individual or corporation to own more than two retail liquor licenses in the state. (A&P had many licenses at that time and was "grandfathered.") This is the reason than you cannot purchase alcohol at your local ShopRite, Pathmark, Kohls, Walmart, CVS, etc.

Large discount operations (such as Walmart and others) and supermarkets are behind a legislative push to remove the two-license restriction.

While you may think purchasing your wine at these kind of outlets would be convenient, any change would have far reaching effects on the industry and would most certainly drive many small independents like Beekmans out of business. You may think, "Oh, he'll be fine. He has lots of customers." The truth is that every small store operates on the edge with rising overhead and increased competition. The large corporations view alcohol sales as merely a way to get people into the store; they don't care about quality or selection. They certainly don't a knowledgeable staff. If this restriction is lifted, a few independents will survive, but most will not, and the selection of wines from which you can choose and the advice you have come to expect will be seriously diminished.

Suspiciously, the legislation is slated to be heard in December, a month when independently owned liquor stores are overwhelmed by busy holiday sales. The large out of state chains and warehouse clubs have the resources to push this legislation through while we’re busy tending to the needs of our community.

If you believe that small, independent wine shops are important, and if you can help, please call the following committee members and legislative leaders to voice your opposition to the following bills.


The Senate Economic Growth Committee will be the first to consider with issue when S-1691 is taken up on December 3rd This bill would remove the two license limit on plenary retail distribution license holders. I strongly urge you to call the following and ask them to vote AGAINST this bill.

Senate President Dick Codey 973 7312-6770

Senate Economic Growth Committee

Senator Raymond Lesniak 908 624-0880

Senator Sandra Cunningham 201 451-5100

Senator Joseph Vitale 732 855-7441

Senator Martha Bark 856 234-8080

Senator Joseph Kyrillos 732 671-3206


The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee will then consider A-2892 on December 10th, which also removes the two license limit. Again, I strongly urge you to call the following and ask them to vote AGAINST this bill.

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts 856 742-7600

Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson 201 541-1118

Assemblyman Nelson Albano 609 465-0700

Assemblyman Sal Vega 201 854-0900

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick 908 232-3673

Assemblyman Brian Rumpf 609 693-6700

More Blathering

Anyone who has ever planned a party or event with us, asked for help finding the perfect wine/food pairing, or just borrowed our tubs for an event knows we supply the services and personal touch that large chain stores do not. When your church, school, club, sports team, band, orchestra, foundation, hospital, or other civic organization has needed us, we have been there. The services we offer, such as gift wrapping and delivery, are not found at large discount clubs and national chains.

We are passionate about wine; it is more than just a business for us. We offer you thousands of wine choices from around the world - some with tiny production. National chains offer large production national brands that are boringly similar. We carry some of these are highly competitive brands, but out focus is on better, more interesting wines.

Within the next two weeks, the legislature will hear legislation which removes the two license limit on retail distribution licensees in New Jersey. This legislation would reverse the 1962 statute which states that a licensee cannot hold more than two retail distribution licenses. This legislation was introduced at the request of various national mega retail chains that include the warehouse clubs.

If you believe that small merchants like Beekmans are important to your community, then we ask you for help. We want to continue our tradition of giving special attention to our customers needs and we want to be here year after year. This may change if these legislative bills are passed.

If you appreciate the services and contributions that independent wine merchants offer, then help us defeat this bill. The 1962 statute was written to insure small liquor stores would not disappear from our local business districts.


Thank you for your help and have a happy and healthy holiday.

Joel, Dave, Barry, Sean, and the staff at Beekman Wines & Liquors.

Joel Mitchel
Beekman Wines & Liquors
246 Rock Road, Glen Rock, NJ 07452
(201) 445-0712
Work e-mail: beekman@conversent.net
Home e-mail: jnjmitchel@verizon.net
http://www.beekmanwine.com
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Redwinger

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Redwinger » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:00 pm

Bob Ross wrote:From Joel Mitchel, Beekmans Wines, Glen Rock:

[More Blathering

Anyone who has ever planned a party or event with us, asked for help finding the perfect wine/food pairing, or just borrowed our tubs for an event knows we supply the services and personal touch that large chain stores do not. When your church, school, club, sports team, band, orchestra, foundation, hospital, or other civic organization has needed us, we have been there. The services we offer, such as gift wrapping and delivery, are not found at large discount clubs and national chains.

We are passionate about wine; it is more than just a business for us. We offer you thousands of wine choices from around the world - some with tiny production. National chains offer large production national brands that are boringly similar. We carry some of these are highly competitive brands, but out focus is on better, more interesting wines.

These two paragraphs show a few of the ways that small shops can/do differentiate themselves from the mega-stores. It doesn't sound as if these big operations are his actual competitors. So I fail to be swayed by his strawman arguements. These small retailers need to compete or they should be allowed to perish through the intervention of market forces.
Wm
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Bob Ross

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Bob Ross » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:04 pm

Except that liquor licenses are intensely regulated in this state -- I suppose in yours -- the free market barely operates in the retail sale of wine.
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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Redwinger » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:15 pm

I can't speak to NJ, but here in Indiana, licenses are allocated based upon population (so many per 1,000 population) and the licenses are essentially the property of the permitee. They are bought and sold with impunity. Thus, we have large entitites with 20+ licenses and the small retailers who effectively carve out their nitch do reasonably well. I'm not at all familiar with the NJ scene, but I am always skeptical of protectionist measures.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:18 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Except that liquor licenses are intensely regulated in this state -- I suppose in yours -- the free market barely operates in the retail sale of wine.


The bill doesn't propose to strip away the licenses of shops that already have them does it? If it doesn't then Bill's comment makes sense. In a situation like this the bad, small shops will die. The good, small shops will survive because they are different.

California still has tons of specialty shops with wine in every supermarket and drugstore.
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Ray Juskiewicz

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Ray Juskiewicz » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:20 pm

Here in Texas we have a bigger problem with the limited number of distributors and the requirement that all retailers and restaurants/bars buy from them. Small production wines rarely make it here because the big distributors don't want to bother. But we have a good variety of retailers to choose from, since there is little to prevent them from opening shop. Except for our arcane system of wet and dry areas, though that impacts liquor more than wine.
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by Gary Barlettano » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:20 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Except that liquor licenses are intensely regulated in this state -- I suppose in yours -- the free market barely operates in the retail sale of wine.

Interesting. I had no clue. When I lived in Nutley, our Shop Rite had a large Shop Rite liquor outlet right nextdoor to the food store and the Costco ... a hop, skip and a jump away in Clifton ... also sold alcohol. They must have had one of the two authorized licenses ... recognizing that people who live in Nutley are perhaps all drunks? :wink:

Business seems, however, to be subject to natural selection and adaptation like most organisms. Although the prices for wine in New Jersey seem higher than those here in California on average, there is definitely no lack of sources. I find my former stomping grounds very well served with a good variety despite New Jersey's otherwise restrictive shipping laws. Put wine or other alcohol into the chain stores and I imagine certain prices may come down because of the competition and the buying power of these large entities. Will some mom and pop shops fold? For sure. But those who add value through good service and good selection probably will continue much in the same vein as they do now.
And now what?
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David Creighton

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Re: New Jersey supporters of small retailers, please read and act. Thanks.

by David Creighton » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:20 pm

dear NJ retailer - i'm not against or for competition per se. your problem won't be so much with A&P or walgreens; but with whole foods and other specialty retailers. supermarkets rarely carry anything except the biggest brands - leaving the rest of the field to you. but they will steal the business you now have in yellow tail, berringer, woodbridge, etc. that just means you'll have to do an even better job with the more interesting wines. here in MI all the supermarkets and drug stores and small convenience stores carry wine. they don't sell all that much; but..... yet we still have plenty of specialty wine retailers. i really don't think the world (your world) will come to an end. you may have to clean up your act at bit - the Canal's i shop at when i'm there could use a good scrubbing - but supermarkets and drug stores aren't set up for case sales. their corporate pencil pushers won't let them carry that much inventory. costco and sams are another problem; but even that sort of shopping isn't everyones cup of tea. of course you still have the right to try to protect your turf; but it just isn't true that consumers will no longer be able to get advice from knowlegable merchants - and becuase you have to differentiate yourself, consumer choice will probably get better not worse.
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