HomeSocial & PoliticsSupermarket and food stores should be able to sell vineyard products

Supermarket and food stores should be able to sell vineyard products

Independent grocers occupy a special place in New York’s communities. We ensure the neighborhoods we serve have access to healthy food such as fresh fruits and vegetables. We know our customers and their kids by name. Many of our neighbors become employees.

We exist to provide our customers with healthy products they want and need and, above all, to be convenient so their lives aren’t made even more complicated. Most of our customers take their groceries home in folding metal pull carts, not SUV trunks.

This is one of the many reasons we are 100% behind allowing consumers to buy wine in grocery stores and back a bill proposed by Manhattan state Sen. Liz Krueger and Syracuse Assemblymember Pamela Hunter.

One, our customers tell us all the time that they want this convenience. Letting them buy wine while doing their other food shopping makes their lives a little bit easier.

Second, they wonder why their friends and relatives in Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, D.C. and Pennsylvania can buy wine in their local grocery stores, but they can’t in Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx. We tell them it’s state law, even though we already sell beer and hard cider. They shake their heads at another law from Albany that doesn’t do them any good.

Customer convenience would be enough of a reason to support wine in grocery stores. But it becomes an even better idea when we consider the positive impact it will have on our small businesses — particularly in the aftermath of what we endured with COVID and still endure with tight margins, inflation, continued spikes in shoplifting and other problems in our communities.

For our neighborhoods to thrive and our city to flourish, our stores must be able to expand their offerings and provide the best for our customers and employees.

Offering wine in grocery stores will be great for our customers, who want the convenience, and for independent store owners and their employees, who have been hit with so much during the pandemic and since.

We say this on behalf of the entire National Supermarket Association and its 500 independent grocery store members in New York from Suffolk County to Newburgh. The NSA was started by Hispanic entrepreneurs in 1989. We opened supermarkets in areas abandoned by large chains, neighborhoods that were economically depressed and largely Black and Brown.

Our stores are in Morris Park, East Tremont Ave. and throughout the Bronx, as well as in Queens Village, Jamaica, Ridgewood, Wyandanch, West Hempstead, Brentwood and throughout Brooklyn.

We don’t just sell groceries. We help empower communities and provide our young people with living examples of enterprise and entrepreneurship, not to mention good jobs. Our association offers college scholarships open to all students but particularly Dreamers, including children of our store employees.

Running a small business in and around New York City gets harder every day. Rents are through the roof. Inflation erodes a customer’s ability to buy what they need, especially people on fixed or limited incomes. And our overhead costs keep rising — not only for produce and other goods but the electricity needed to run our freezers and refrigeration systems.

Then there’s crime. Shoplifting crimes in the city are up 81% this year. Our store workers are being verbally and physically assaulted.

The challenges never end.

The Daily News Flash


Catch up on the day’s top five stories every weekday afternoon.

We know letting consumers buy wine in grocery stores has stirred controversy in the past. But we believe the new proposal from Krueger and Hunter addresses those issues.

This new plan is limited to stores that are full-service grocery stores only — no big box stores like Walmart or Target that mostly sell other items, no mini marts or convenience stores, and no drug stores like Walgreens or CVS.

In the past the liquor industry has raised concerns about under-age drinking. This is a non-issue since we already vigilantly require legitimate proof of age for beer and hard cider.

Some liquor stores claim they’ll close if consumers are given this choice. But the facts we’ve seen from other states that allow grocery store wine sales shows that both can co-exist and even thrive. And the fact is liquor stores will remain the only place to buy spirits.

Three-quarters of New Yorkers want to see this happen. Independent grocery stores want to see it happen too, and we look forward to seeing this bill become law this year — for our customers, for our employees and yes for our small-business owners.

As we say in our communities, “¡Llego la hora del vino!” It’s time for wine!

Eusebio is National Supermarket Association’s director of government relations. Rodriguez, owner of Billy’s Marketplace in Ridgewood, Queens.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

%d bloggers like this: