When the Ontario Government announced earlier this year that they would allow grocery stores to carry booze, consumers and grocers across the province were elated.
But the government revealed details this week in an information session that has many independent grocers shaking their heads and asking “what’s the point?”!
If you want to sell beer in your grocery store, here’s what you need to do, regardless of the size of your store:
– obtain a licence at a cost of $7,000 per store, per year.
– obtain a letter of credit for $150,000 as insurance for the LCBO, in case a grocer buys booze but doesn’t pay the tab. The cost of carrying a $150K line of credit? $3,000 a year!
– grocery stores have to bid for a licence (7 independent & 18 large grocery store licences available). It’s believed that winning bids will be giving to grocers willing to accept the least amount of profit from the sale of alcohol (minimum profit has been set at 3%)
– renovate your store to properly store and sell booze.
– retrain existing staff and hire new employees licenced to sell alcohol.
With all of these requirements in play, is it really worth it for a grocery store that isn’t a Loblaws, Metro or Sobeys to sell alcohol? Does this play right into the LCBO and Beer Store’s wallets? Has this whole process been a joke all along?
Independent grocer Giancarlo Trimarchi shared his concerns in the Toronto Star HERE.