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Speaking out about supermarket wine sales

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 11 2013 07:46:08 PM CST

Selling wine in supermarkets, it's already done in 37 states, but in Tennessee it's a law that hasn't been passed.
"I don't think it's a good thing it's easy access for people too. They need to stick to selling food," says resident Tony McMurray.

But CEO of K-VA-T Stores Steve Smith tells News 5, they sell wine in their Food City stores in Virginia, and they are cautious of who they sell it to. "Our folks are well trained to enforce the law, to police it, again wine is probably a less troublesome item than even beer in our supermarkets."

A lot of Tennessee residents are crossing state lines into Virginia to buy wine from their supermarkets, causing Tennessee to lose some revenue. "Not only do you miss, when folks drive out of Tennessee to Virginia to buy wine, you not only miss the sales tax since you're not getting it in Tennessee, but you also miss the tax on the wine as well. Which is about seventeen percent of the purchase," says Smith.

Resident Josh Leonard says if passed, he would vote 'yes' to wine sales. "With this struggling economy I'd say it'd help, even if it's just a little it helps some," says Leonard.

When it comes to liquor stores that are concerned about losing customers Smith says, "we're cetainly willing to work with them to help them sell other items like food or non-food items that they'd like to sell in the stores."

This bill is something Smith says, he'd like to see pass. "We think it's a win/win for tourists, we think it's a win for residents who can buy wine conviently, and we think it's a win for the state as well."