Private Wine/Liquor Stores Falling to “Big Box” Grocers

I just read an article in the Cleveland Scene Magazine (online version) regarding the Ohio wine and liquor business. Most of the information I was aware of and didn’t surprise me from having worked in the retail wine business for a while. What I found disheartening was the thought of the “Big Box” grocers ie. Giant Eagle, buying up local wine retailers in the areas where they are expanding their stores.

From the article: “Solon (Ohio) Wine and Liquor shut down a few months ago because Giant Eagle paid them to the tune of $2 million,” the insider told me. “They even bought out the remainder of their 20-year lease.”

I was speaking to local wine retailer closer to home. They advised the same thing. They were approached and declined…good for them! However another local wine retailer did sell. I’m sure this is happening all over the country. Another blow to small business and the American dream. The financials may be tempting ($2 million) for the business being purchased, but how about the retailer just a little further down the road who the “big box” didn’t approach. Will this mean closing the doors? Are independent wine merchants fading into obscurity like the independent book stores did?  (I have a good friend that had to close her book store partly do to the “big box” book store invasion)

As convenient as it may be to buy everything in one store, we must continue to support the local independent business’ in our area.  The expertise of the independent business owner will usually exceed the hourly associate at the “big box”. 

In an ironic side-note, Giant Eagle has a new TV commercial asking you, the consumer, why you would want to buy your produce where you buy televisions. Who might this be referring to…Walmart or Super Target maybe? You should ask, “Why would I want to buy my wine where I buy my prescriptions or do my banking? For me, service and price come to mind.



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