In my last post I discussed blue laws. Some would like to change the Sunflower State’s liquor laws – here below are some thoughts sent from a supporter.
The video above is of an interview with Mike Moon, who owns a few grocery stores in Kansas. Mike and his employees are on the front lines of the small town economies. 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. As a result, business that could be there either goes to other stores (who have their own overhead) or across the border to states where stores face no such limitations.
As Mike Moon states, if grocery stores could sell full-strength beer wine and liquor, they would have an increase in sales without the same increase in overhead. As Mike concludes, people new to Kansas are shocked to learn that such blue laws prevent him from selling them what they expect to find.
The consumers are ready for this to change. Now we hope legislators take action on this piece of legislation for the benefit of Mike Moon and his follow shop owners across Kansas.
[Note, at around 9m, 2/2/11, I edited this post to embed the newspaper link rather than spell it out, and make an edit for clarity in my introductory, italicized remark – BTJ].