The Fight for Your Livelihood
The ABC Stores of SC retail association is fighting legislation that would destroy the 3 store limit. As you know, the 3 store limit provides a more level playing field for retailers and creates business opportunities for small businesses throughout SC. Walmart, Total Wine and other big box lobbyists are aggressively working to get a bill moving. We believe the legislation is a ploy. The legislation removes the 3 store limit and limits the number of liquor stores in each county based on population. Our opponents understand that legislators will not likely pass this proposal and could be persuaded to delete certain protections given to liquor stores in exchange for their support or neutrality during the legislative process. Once something passes, these same interests would be back in future legislative sessions, pushing legislation to further weaken liquor stores. Total Wine pushed legislation last session to do away with the 3 store limit that our allies in the legislature defeated. So far, our association and the state have successfully defeated a lawsuit brought by Total challenging the state’s ability to set a limit on the number of stores. Total has been using the lawsuit to threaten retailers and to put financial pressure on our association to give up the fight for our members and allow their legislation to pass.
Their strategy is to divide. They are telling smaller retailers that they want to create value for their licenses. They are telling social conservatives that they want to cut the number of liquor stores doing business in SC nearly a third. We are concerned that they are trying to confuse legislators by creating another trade association that they can control in order to co-op and directly communicate with unsuspecting retailers. They have hired over a dozen lobbyists and several PR firms and political consultants to carry out their plan to take over the SC market and run small, independent retailers out of business. We suspect that they may be looking for struggling retailers to “buy” just like these same big box retailers go into communities to quietly buy up property for their use. Please let us know if you have been approached.
Our opposition is telling legislators that they want to create a free market for liquor. The truth is that they want to change the licensing system to support their existing business model that has already destroyed so many other small businesses around the country. How many independent hardware, drug, book or clothing stores have closed in your community? Rather than creating a free market, this legislation allows big box retailers to create a monopoly and control the market. Right now Walmart is pursuing legislation in other states to “tear down the wall” and allow big box stores to sell liquor along with everything else they sell.
We need your help. Our retailers are in every legislative district. Your relationship with these representatives and senators is incredibly important. We will be hosting several meetings around the state in order to brief you so that you may be fully informed and engaged.Join Now