If you live in one of Oklahoma’s 15 largest counties you may have a chance to vote in November on a proposal to allow certain grocery stores to sell wine. The group pushing the initiative petition is called Oklahomans for Modern Laws, they say limiting which stores and counties can take part gives them a better chance for passage.
The current petition would allow only retailers with six or fewer locations and stores of 25,000 square feet or greater to sell wine. It would also call for votes in only Oklahoma’s 15 largest counties. That has angered many other business people including Mike Thornbrugh of Quik Trip “what they’ve done is continue a monopoly for, quite honestly big box retailers to have the privilege while the rest of us, do not” he told me.
Thornbrugh says as it stands the petition is at best, misleading. “Quik Trip as a company thinks it’s not correct, not fair and quite frankly they’re hoodwinking the public.”
When I talked to Mike he told me QT had helped this same group three years ago when they asked how to approach the issue. Quik Trip is in 11 states and they sell alcohol in their stores in nine of those states. He said it was that experience that caused the group to approach them. “We met with them in good faith and explained to them everything that was going on” he said with irritation in his voice. He continued “then I get an email that shows me what their proposal is and it cuts out any retailer with less than 25,000 square feet.”
“The voters assumption is that great, we now have consumer choice and competition and allow everybody who is a licensed retailer to sell this product and that’s just not the case” Mike fumed.
The group needs 155,000 signatures and has 90 days to gather them.