Liquor store numbers continue to rise in Oklahoma

The number of liquor stores in Oklahoma continues to rise despite recent efforts to change state law and allow grocery stores to sell wine.
by Andrew Knittle Published: November 19, 2012

“You're not out having to build a building … you're not out a ton of money to start out, depending on the size of the store.”

“Plus, everything you put into it, you're going to get out it … it's worth something.”

Another thing that lures new business owners, Ogden said, the thirst the public has for wine and liquor.

“People say it's recession-proof … I've heard that ever since I got into the business,” Ogden said. “People may change what they drink, but they still drink.”

Seeking change

Oklahomans for Modern Laws has been actively seeking to change Oklahoma's liquor laws for years.

Its latest effort survived scrutiny by Oklahoma Supreme Court justices, but now the group must get the question on the ballot for voters to decide.

To do so, Oklahomans for Modern Laws must collect more than 150,000 signatures and likely survive another challenge from liquor store owners and other opponents of the law change regarding the signatures.

The latest question crafted by the group essentially would allow grocery stores of a certain size to sell wine, and only in Oklahoma's 15 largest counties.

When — and if — that will happen remains to be seen.

Ogden said wine accounts for “about 60 percent” of her store's sales.

“It scares us to death here in Oklahoma,” Ogden said.

“There's a huge chunk of our business just lost.”

Ogden said she is fearful that the proposed law change will give certain grocery stores an unfair advantage because liquor and wine stores cannot sell unrelated products.

“We just want a fair playing field,” she said.

“And the way they have it written up, it doesn't seem fair for liquor store owners. That's our biggest concern.”


by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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