TOPEKA — Convenience store owners are urging lawmakers to allow them to sell full-strength beer, contending it would level the playing field. But liquor store owners fear changing the laws would cause them to close shop.
"They are attempting to stab me in the back and take 60 percent of my business," said Wichita liquor store owner John Davis.
For 35 years, Davis has operated Davis Liquor. The enterprise has become a family affair with his wife and two children each owning their own stores.
He estimated that 60 percent of his sales come from beer. Allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell full-strength beer would pull away customers. If those stores want those customers, let them follow all the regulations he has to follow, Davis said.
Convenience and grocery stores can sell only beer that is no more than 3.2 percent alcohol. House Bill 2537 would remove that restriction. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony at a standing-room-only hearing Thursday. The hearing continues Monday.