18 Responses to “B&M Foodmart seeks Single Serve Exemption”

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  1. Anonymous

    “Never had a 911 call” and “robbed at gunpoint” sound like inconsistent statements to me.

  2. Anonymous

    Where do her customers go to drink if not in front of our store? Is it on our homes, parks, etc…?

  3. PQS

    I have a lot of sympathy for the store owner. She built a business serving her customer base and then all of a sudden the rug is pulled out from under her. You can argue that her customer base may not consist of upstanding citizens, but in the end, the law is punishing the store owner and not those causing the problem. She will now probably go out of business creating yet another vacant property. Yes, she should adapt to the change in the neighborhood and revamp her business model, but good luck getting a loan to get that done in this market. Give her an exemption long enough for the economy to turn around and to give her the opportunity (and time) to change her business.

  4. fourthandeye

    @PQS – A comment I heard at the ANC 6C ABL meeting from a former ABRA employee earlier this month really rang true with me. I shared it at last night’s meeting as a rebuttal to a member who claimed it is unfair to penalize store owners for problems related to public drinking.

    Alcohol is a regulated substance. We regulate which businesses can sell alcohol, what hours it can be sold, what types can be sold, what age a person must be to buy it, etc… Any business owner electing to sell alcohol should understand that regulation is core to the business and not punitive or unfair. The single sales moratorium is just another layer of regulation and one that our citizens lobbied for and our Council passed.

    I see your point about a grace period. However, it’s been evident this legislation has been imminent for over a year. You’d hope a business with this profile would have been working towards making changes to be prepared rather than putting most (or all) of their eggs in the exemption basket.

  5. Anonymous

    I find it fascinating that so many people want to protect small liquor and convenience stores from this moratorium due to the financial impact. When restaurants or bars are impacted by external influences no one cares.

  6. PQS

    fourthandeye: You make a solid case. I respectfully disagree at points but overall I understand where you're coming from. I'm not familiar with B&M, but I assume they don't have too much flexibility to adapt quickly (to me a year is still quick to adapt when you have limited funds to do so). I know most people disagree with me, but I'm in the camp of the person who rebutted at the meeting. By punishing the vendors you're just putting a band aid on the problem and punishing the wrong group of people. I'm also against the excess regulation of alcohol sales and consumption but that's a debate for another time.

    Anon @ 9:44: You're right, there is a double standard and at times it's not fair. When restaurants and bars are punished by new (and old) regulations, it’s just as unfortunate and I'll be the first person to say so. It just happens that this is case about a liquor store and not a restaurant.

  7. Chris

    I realize this will sound very callous but business is about change not comfort zones. Everywhere I’ve ever worked my company was always expected to do better than last year rather than just replicate what we’ve always been doing.

  8. Anonymous

    I would say that she should not get an exemption, but the ANC/MVSNA should work to get her a small business loan or grant through SBA, DSLBD, or main streets. That way she can change her business model (or try).

  9. Anonymous

    along those lines…
    http://newsroom.dc.gov/show.aspx/agency/olbd/section/2/release/15742

    Can someone get this information to her??? She could get a loan of up to $25k to upgrade her business.

  10. PQS

    All good ideas.

    Chris: I don’t think your comment is callous. It’s just a fact of life and ultimately a beneficial fact of life. But this “change” isn’t a gradual change in the market but rather a rule that is suddenly put in place that eliminates 40% of this person’s business. It’s hard to overcome that. Now if she were losing 40% of her business because the community and market is changing, then that’s another thing all together. In that case she should either change with the market or close. That’s not the case here.

  11. fourthandeye

    @PQS – I think you are overstating both the suddenness of this ban and the impact.

    Addressing the impact first: I do imagine total receipts from alcohol sales will decline especially in the short term. However while 35% of her sales are singles that does not mean she will lose 35% of her business. There will be residents who are loyal to her store that will begin to purchase 4 packs and 6 packs when singles are no longer an option. Examining the impacts of other already instituted bans bears this out. I can’t pretend I know the percentage but that will happen and it will be a non-trival amount. But of course there will also be some customers that choose to walk 3/10 of a mile to Big Ben and buy Malt Liquor at that Ward 5 store.

    Addressing the suddenness/impact: The writing has been on the wall with regards to this ban for a year or more. While it may take a business more than a year to fully reinvent itself a lot of progress could have been made in a year. Certainly applications for grants and micro-loans could have been initiated. You could argue that even the impending opening of the Safeway (and soon Harris Teeter) should have nudged her in this direction 2+ years ago.

  12. PQS

    fourthandeye: Fair enough. You make a good point. It’ll hurt her but probably not as much as I originally suggested.

  13. Anonymous

    Anon @07:43 … Her customers drink their singles at the same places that Good Libations drink their singles.

    If you believe Good Libations’s claims then you have to believe hers.

  14. Anonymous

    I’m anon 7:43 — I don’t believe the Good Libation’s claims. It certainly is not what I observe in this neighborhood. I just think that there are businesses and individuals that raise a community up and those that don’t. We need to support those businesses that improve the neighborhood and we don’t need to support a skid row economy.

  15. Anonymous

    Speaking of Good Libations, did Ronnie attend to support Brenda and show solidarity?

  16. fourthandeye

    @Anon 19:23 – No, Ron Green did not attend the meeting.

  17. fourthandeye

    The DSLBD links placed in the comments by Anon 11:12 and Si are now broken.

    Please use this [updated link].