Washington's small wine shops want to sell liquor too

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 14 at 7:01 PM

SEATTLE -- Richard Kinssiess would like a piece of the pie. The liquor pie. The considerable action in booze that is coming down the track at consumers like a retail train fueled by 151 Rum.

"I'm more than determined," he said. "I WILL find a way to get a piece of this action."

Kinsiess owns three small retail wine shops in Seattle. Put them together and they add up to about 7,000 square feet. So even if all his businesses were under one roof he wouldn't qualify to be able to sell liquor under the requirements of the law as written in Initiative 1183 which passed easily last week.

To Kinssiess, that's not only unfair but he said it just doesn't make sense. Why punish small businesses, especially ones with long track records of safely selling high-end products with almost no history of selling to mninors, he asked?

"We're not the people you want out of the business. We're the people you want in the business."

Just a few blocks away a competitor feels exactly the same. And both businessmen think the "one-stop-shopping" that will be available in big grocery stores will draw some of their customers away, possibly enough to hurt them during a time when discretionary spending and making ends meet is such a challenge. Emile Dinaud has beel selling wine in Seattle since 1969.

"We don't deserve this kind of treatment. And again we would be selling alcohol like we've been selling wine; very responsibly," said Dinaud.

Both would also heartily support any efforts in Olympia to tweak the requirements of 1183 to include small wine retailers. Kinssiess says he's shopping for a legal team right now, so he can figure out the most effective way to bring the issue up to legislators. Why go to the effort and expense? You don't have to look any father than the bottom line.

"If i can't even sell the product they're selling, it's just unfair."
 

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