Council asks corporation for liquor sales clarification in supermarket

Paul Hutchings
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DEER LAKE  Town councillors in Deer Lake will be asking the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation for clarification regarding the sales of alcoholic beverages at a local supermarket.

Councillors stated at Monday’s public meeting they are hearing complaints from the community at large about the local Colemans grocery store offering alcohol sales in an open aisle accessible by anyone regardless of age.

Four years ago Deer Lake’s liquor store closed, which forced the liquor service into a section of a local service station. Several months after that, the tender was won by Colemans, which devoted an entire aisle to the service.

Mayor Dean Ball said the problem is not that they are selling alcohol, it’s the accessibility. While he does not have a problem with it personally, he does sympathize with parents on the issue.

“A lot of these parents are (consumers) of these products, but if you have small children in there with you while you are grocery shopping, small children are the easiest to influence and you want them separated,” said Ball. “In other establishments there’s a glass door to go through or something like that; it’s a separate identity.”

Deputy Mayor Sandra Pinksen agreed with the mayor.

“A lot of people were upset over it because they didn’t feel it was right that we should be exposed to a liquor store when we are going to pick up groceries,” said Pinksen. “To me it just doesn’t look good; they should have it in a separate room.”

Council expects to have a letter sent off in the new year.

Liquor stores within grocery stores are commonplace in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as liquor stores adjacent to grocery stores with a common entrance.

Representatives from Colemans and the liquor corporation were unavailable for comment.

Organizations: DEER LAKE Town, Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Jon Reid
    January 04, 2012 - 06:44

    I won't speak to the exposure of youth to alcohol but I do know the spacing is an issue. A close family friend refuses to go to this location since the changes because the aisles are too difficult to navigate. On second thought, I will speak to the alcohol. Shoplifting has been a problem since the liquor aisles have been integrated. This would obviously be less of a problem if there was a dedicated space.

  • squires
    December 16, 2011 - 11:34

    I agree with LAURA, there have been talks and a lot of land being bought over the years by Colemans, saying they were going to build a bigger store, well guess what, we now have less space for groceries, due to the liquor outlet going there. coner Brook got a new stre, with all of the money that is spent here by residents of Deer Lake and outlying areas we deserve better.

    • David
      December 16, 2011 - 17:53

      Guess what? Selling booze is quite likely more profitable than selling groceries.....I know that might come as a total shock, but it's possible. I'd like for Coleman's to open a giant Food Mall, with separate stores for each could look like the West Edmonton Mall, only for groceries! But they just won't....they just aren't very smart.

    • David
      December 16, 2011 - 17:54

      Guess what? Selling booze is quite likely more profitable than selling groceries.....I know that might come as a total shock, but it's possible. I'd like for Coleman's to open a giant Food Mall, with separate stores for each could look like the West Edmonton Mall, only for groceries! But they just won't....they just aren't very smart.

  • Roy Whalen
    December 15, 2011 - 15:58

    Taxpayers are paying Councillors to discuss this in 2011?? Booze has been sold on Main Street since the 60's. .Get over it. ..Roy Whalen

  • David
    December 15, 2011 - 12:41

    The fact that it took several years for anyone to lodge a complaint about this tells the real story.... the situation raised many eyebrows because it seemed very suspicious and strange, but virtually no one was 'put out' or upset about a gorcery store selling booze, except of course their food store competion. This incident shows the complete, unjustifiable waste of taxpayer money that a government-controlled liquor monopoly distribution system is. People want efficiency and convenience, and price competition would be very welcomed. Wine and beer are sold in grocery stores all over Europe, the U.S. and Quebec, and people there aren't falling down drunk all day or running their grocery carts into the shelves...are we here mentallly inferior to them? If Newfoundlanders truly ARE incapable of being responsible with alcohol as to need government interference when they buy booze, then stop selling beer at gas stations (duh!). As far as the potential for more drinking and driving in Newfoundland that could result from any loosening of liquor laws, I say this: First, how much worse could it get than it is already?! Second, we are either adults living in a democracy with responsibilites and freedoms, or we are not. If we must be treated as children and prevented from our own immature, anti-social choices, then that is a condition that must be addressed in a much more sweeping way. But the only thing a govermnment monopoly on liquor distribution "solves" is the government's addiciton to spending money.

    • Laura
      December 15, 2011 - 17:26

      David I think you are missing the point.....I'm all for choise and we could take that discussion alot broader then alcohol in a grocery store ! I think it's great to pick up my steaks,wine and |Stellas all in one store ,it is convienent .However ,this is about Colemans not providing an adequate area within the grocery store or adjacent to it for a liquor store. Colemans added a large liquor aisle and beer coolers without adding any space...hellooooo this had to displace groceries and cramp up the groceries that did remain!!! What we have left is a crappy grocery store and a crappy liquor store...period! What about it I think!

    • David
      December 16, 2011 - 17:49

      Well Laura, just so that you can see where I 'missed the point', here's a summary of my faulty thinking....Coleman's is quite capable of deciding what products it offers, at what price, and in what circumstances. It's a private company, and if it wants to allocate more of its space to booze and less to groceries, that is their choice. The Liquor Agency has allowed the current set-up to exist for over 3 years.....I can't conceive that their liquor distribution monopoly is so wildly hectic and chaotic as to keep them from doing something if the situation wasn't adequate in their eyes, and I've certainly never seen evidence that the NLLCB was under-staffed or overworked, either. If so, that itself would be pretty damning evidence of what an inept, inefficient and incompetent corporation it is, and it should be eliminated. Now back to Coleman's: if they are "wrong" in their decision to sell booze in the space where they used to sell more food, their earnings will show it. Simple as that --- unlike the government liquor cartel, you are free to choose where you buy your groceries, which is the very essence of a competitive market .....remarkable! If you think it's a "crappy store", then you and all others who think that way should shop at Foodland or elsewhere, and go to Coleman's just for your alcohol purchases...just like you did at the Big Stop. Haalllooo!