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Liquor stores shifting gears after law changes

Posted at 8:27 AM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 15:15:43-05

TULSA — It appears that convenience comes at a cost to some liquor store owners.

KFORreports that have even closed their doors since last year's law changes.

Since the passage of State Question 792, allowing liquor stores to sell refrigerated strong beer and grocery stores to do the same along with wine.

It means store owners like Vance Gregory are faced with a new challenge.

"We got to find where's our relevance to our customer," Gregory said.

The Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma says there were about 680 outlets to buy strong beer, wine, and liquor... But the law changes have added about 4-thousand competitors in the strong beer and wine arena.

Gregory says convenience is key and with a captive shopper at a convenience or grocery store Gregory says it also meant a drop in sales.

To try and diversify their sales-- liquor stores and selling non-alcoholic products.

Gregory has expanded into flowers, candies, and other items but he is aware of the market reality.

"There's too much competition out there so I think it will probably take a year or two before we see the final wash out of all the stores closing," Gregory said.

Gregory says many other stores across the state can compete on price selection and customer service but for one area it's difficult.

"The entire issue for the local liquor store is really convenient," Gregory said.

Now it's up to people like them and hundreds of other retail stores across the state to figure out besides convenience what consumers really want.

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