Liquor law could hurt small businesses

Posted at 8:07 AM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 08:07:27-04

Governor Snyder signed eight bills into law Tuesday and one of them has some store owners upset.

Under the law, big-box grocery stores with a gas station are able to sell liquor at those gas stations.

Raja Singh opened his doors in Mason just a few days ago and he's worried the new law could cause him to close his just as fast as he opened them.

"Why are they gonna come over here," said Singh."You know, you stop in one place and get everything you can get. You can get coffee, pop, you can get a cigarette, you can get wine liquor."

The law reduces the distances between gas pumps and a convenience store where liquor is sold from 50 feet to 5.

"Obviously, you know, a small business like me loose a lot of money, a lot of customers" Singh said.

Under the law, the gas station must have $250,000 worth of inventory, that isn't alcohol. And that rule is what representative Ray Franz says is unfair.

"This bill creates a special permit for Meijer so they can use the inventory of their store, their main store, which is quite a distance away. Meanwhile all the other gas stations in that neighborhood must have $250,000 worth of inventory" said Onekama representative Ray Franz.

He says the law is a slippery slope.

"I think that it will also impact small grocery stores because now Meijer becomes even more dominant in the market place not just with gas but with grocery" said Rep. Franz.

But Representative Nesbitt says that's not the case, it's about convenience.

"It's a simple straight forward bill that provides more convenience to Michigan residences and it provides more competitive environment for Michigan and it opens up the market a little bit more" said Rep. Nesbitt.

Raja Singh says he hopes the customers he's already made will keep his doors open.