Posted on | February 5, 2014
Written by | Paul Santelle
Last February I relayed a story by US News & World Report that put beer, wine and liquor stores in the unfortunate ranks of the “10 Worst Industries of 2013.” The article forecast a 5% decline, fueled by growing competition from grocery chains, discount outlets and even the Internet as many states loosen restrictions on sales.
Unfortunately, the predicted decline for our retail sector appears to be reality now. It’s par for the course Jersey had been on for the last several years—something many of us had been expecting in the wake of the “winery to consumer” direct shipping debacle and even the expansion of big box grocery chains and warehouse clubs into our State.
For the many of you feeling defenseless against the continual chipping away at our livelihoods—what I call “a slow death by a thousand cuts”—please be assured that our wholesale partners are standing shoulder to shoulder with us. They are feeling the same pressures being exerted against their model that we are, and now more than ever, there is a need for all of us to toe the line together.
Industry Support Needed for NJLSA-NJLBA Spring Show
The NJLSA, along with the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association (NJLBA), will be co-hosting our 1st Annual Spring Holiday Trade Show on April 2nd in Atlantic City. Registration information is available on both the NJLBA and NJLSA websites, so please be sure to register and pass this information on to your fellow retailers.
We are looking forward to bringing together our state’s on- and off-premise licensees in a genuine show of industry solidarity. Whenever a supplier, wholesaler or vendor questions the cost of supporting our show(s)—I remind them of what life would be like in terms of their business model if we were a chain state and did not have a viable independent retailing sector. I know for a fact that many of these same wholesalers, suppliers and vendors would find far less opportunity to expand or maintain their businesses if our independent model were to collapse.
The bottom-line is simple to understand: When you support the viability of the NJLSA and the NJLBA you are supporting far more than a traditional justified desired bounce in sales—you are supporting all of your existing independent based sales. So please support our show!
Time to Step Up
The NJLSA is in the process of reintroducing our “Level Playing Field Legislation” that will clearly define what a level playing field “is” as well as what it is not with respect to big box clubs and grocery chains. As I wrote last month, we have been working closely with the ABL (American Beverage License Association) on this effort, which involves a large coalition of other ABL member states that, like New Jersey, have been fighting the grocery chain and warehouse challenge for the last decade.
This will be the most important piece of legislation we have worked on since the deregulation of our industry in 1980, and it will unquestionably represent the best chances we will have to protect and defend our livelihoods for the next decade and hopefully thereafter! So now is the time to get connected and SUPPORT THE NJLSA!