Drinking In the Schnucks Loss

Midtowners in particular are mourning the loss of Schnucks today. The Midtown store on Union that closed last night has been an institution for families dating back to the time the Seesseles first opened the store. Many of us went there as children or with our children, getting to know the amiable staff, the quirky parking lot, the bakery’s goodies. You’d almost always see a neighbor you knew there and stop to have a quick chat.

I think the loss of Schnucks has at least one political element in it, though. For several years, Schnucks has been one of the backers of a campaign to sell liquor in grocery stores. They do it in St. Louis. They do it in most cities. With the margins of profit so low for grocery chains, sales of wine and liquor probably give them extra profit. Since Tennessee doesn’t allow that, in a bow to liquor stores, that avenue of success was blocked for them.

So what happens? Lots of employees lose their jobs, customers are denied the right to buy wine as they are selecting dinner components, the stores close, commerce suffers and Memphians are left with only one major grocery chain in the city.

The liquor lobby succeeded again in getting the legislature to postpone a bill correcting this. Now we’re all hurt. Time to get rid of this outdated law.

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