Knoxville liquor store going out of business, says wine in grocery stores to blame

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – In the year since grocery stores started selling wine, some local liquor stores are feeling a loss in business. For one store owner, that means closing up shop for good.

“We lost $2 million in revenue just from grocery stores and wine sales. So that really destroyed our cash flow. The traffic count was way down because people were buying, more convenient to buy at grocery stores. That reduced our spirit sales which was not something we had planned for,” said David Purvis, owner of Farragut Wine and Spirits.

Purvis says when the legislation was first introduced, he thought it might affect 30 percent of wine sales, but now he says it’s upwards of 40 to 45 percent. He says it’s left him no choice but to liquidate inventory and close his store.

“I find it offensive that the legislature passed legislation that harmed their constituents in favor of out-of-state corporations. Sure, it’s convenient for the consumer, but there’s 650 stores in the state. When this is done, there may be half of them left,” said Purvis.

Purvis sits on the Board of Directors for the Retailer’s Association. He’s been a vocal opponent of selling wine in grocery stores since it was first proposed, even going to Nashville in front of lawmakers to share his concerns.

Purvis is holding a inventory clearance sale through Saturday – 30 percent off everything in the store. He says he doesn’t know when the store will officially close, but he’ll reevaluate after Saturday as to what products are left.

In the meantime, regular customers of the shop are coming for their last “stock up. Some say they saw it coming.

“When the grocery stores were coming in with the wine, I thought, it’s getting hard for these guys. I’m sorry to see it close.” said Diane Kaschak.

Kaschak says she’ll continue to shop local and likes the variety and attention in a locally owned shop. Others agree.

“They’re very helpful. If you go into a grocery store you’re not going to get any help about what you are looking for.” said Betty Murphy, another customer.

Purvis says he hopes if some stores close it will make way to support the ones that are left, but he’s still hesitant and plans to write a letter to lawmakers.

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