LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Four liquor stores in Pulaski and Saline county are working to stop grocery stores from expanding wine sales, they've sued the state over the new law that took effect October first.
Walmart, Kroger, and a grocery store in Helena-West Helena are challenging the liquor stores lawsuit.
Walmart released a statement to THV11 saying, "We believe the law is valid and constitutional, and will benefit customers through greater choice and convenience."
Kroger also released a statement saying, "Kroger is working to provide added value and convenience to our customer's shopping experience."
Legacy Wine and Spirits Owner, John Akins, said they’ll definitely lose money.
“We've ran numbers and analytics this entire year in preparation for these new licenses to be issued. We feel like we will probably lose more than $200,000 annually in net income,” he said.
Akins said sixty percent of their business relies on wine sales and they need that.
He also said there's also a limit on the amount of permits per county and that Pulaski and Saline have already reached that, so there shouldn’t be any more licenses to give out.
“Legally we think the law reads, they should not be allowed those permits and they also don't have to follow setback rules like liquor stores do,” Akins said.
Akins said liquor stores have to be one thousand feet away from churches or schools but the grocery stores don't have to be.
He also said they get to sell anything they want and liquor stores can't.
“Walmart sells guns, pharmaceuticals, furniture, and we legally aren't allowed to sell anything besides beer, wine, and liquor,” he said.
He said because of this new bill- a lot of liquor stores will be forced to shut down.
“If they're going to come into our market and take business away from our small market they need to at least need to follow the same rules that we have to follow,” he said.
This past session a piece of legislation was also passed, allowing liquor stores to sell food, but Akins say they can't sell enough cheese for the amount of money they'll be losing.
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