Kroger, Walmart seek liquor licenses on ballot

This week, The BG News is taking a closer look at some of the issues and candidates in this year’s elections. First, we will explore some of the issues, including liquor options on the ballot, in this paper. Keep picking up The BG News for ongoing election coverage. Tweet #Elections2012 @The_BG_News and let us know what you think about the liquor options and everything else on which you’ll be voting.

Bowling Green has two liquor options on the ballot this election. Kroger and Walmart are both looking to obtain a liquor license. The liquor options give businesses the opportunity to get a liquor license that the business could not get otherwise because there were none available in the county. A liquor license allows and limits when and what the business can sell, so the liquor option on the ballots give the businesses another opportunity to get the license with permission from voters.

The first option is for Kroger, located at 1094 N. Main St., to obtain a liquor license allowing it to sell spirituous liquor and sell on Sundays.

The second option is for the sale of beer, wine and mixed beverages by Walmart Super Center at 131 W. Gypsy Lane.

Kroger spokesperson Jackie Siekman said since there are only so many liquor licenses permitted in each county and in the state, Kroger wants to seize the opportunity to get a liquor license rather than waiting for one to become available.

1. How it is now: Currently, Kroger has a liquor license that allows the store to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks Monday through Saturday. Walmart does not have a liquor license and cannot sell alcohol.

2. How it got on the ballot: The business must petition to get the liquor option on the ballot. The Board of Elections oversees the process of the business obtaining the correct number of signatures and the business only has to pay a filing fee.

3. Who votes: The city is divided into a number of voting precincts. Only those who vote within precinct 10 will have a say in the liquor option for Kroger. Precinct 10 consists of the area east of Main Street, as south as Merry Street and north past Van Camp Road. Precinct 104 will vote on the Walmart liquor option. This precinct is located on the west side of Main Street and extends south near U.S. Route 6 and as far north as Wooster Street.

4. Yes: A “yes” vote coming from precinct 10 means the voter agrees that Kroger should be allowed to sell hard liquor and to sell on Sundays. A “yes” vote coming from precinct 140 means the voter agrees that Walmart should be allowed to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks Monday through Saturday.

5. No: A “no” vote coming from precinct 10 would mean the voter does not want to increase Kroger’s ability to sell hard liquor. Kroger would still keep the license allowing the store to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks Monday through Saturday. A “no” vote coming from precinct 140 means the voter does not want Walmart to sell alcohol.

6. How it will affect others: It will affect students and all residents who shop at Kroger or Walmart or want another location to obtain alcohol. If its liquor option is passed, Kroger will have to keep the hard liquor in a separate area to keep it out of the reach of children, but ultimately it will be easier on shoppers who need a one-stop shop, Siekman said.