Wegmans Liquor Store Hearing Tonight

You tell us: Should Wegmans have a second-floor liquor store?

The decision on whether to grant a liquor license to a that would be located on the second floor of the Columbia Wegmans could come tonight from the Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Board.

Follow Patch's coverage of the hearing tonight live on Twitter using the hashtag #WegmansLiquor.

Two previous hearings on the liquor store ended without a decision. The first one on May 1, which ran about five hours, ended before public comments were finished. The speakers there were concerned about the effect the large liquor store would have on their local businesses and whether it was within the law to sell alcohol inside a chain grocery store, which is .

At the May 1 meeting, Ralph Michael Smith, a part owner of the store, said that 90 percent of the store would be owned by a Delaware LLC wholly owned by Christopher O'Donnell, the husband of Colleen Wegman, who is the president of Wegmans. The other 10 percent would be owned by Smith, an Ellicott City lawyer, who has advised Wegmans on labor and employment issues in the past.

At the , more local business owners spoke out against the store. In addition, Wendy Webster, the Columbia Wegmans store manager, detailed how Wegmans would not be affiliated with the operations of the liquor store. She said the second-floor spirit shop would provide convenience to Wegmans customers who were looking for one-stop-shopping.

The second hearing also ended without a decision after about three and a half hours of testimony when the board concluded it wanted to speak to the 90 percent owner, Christopher O'Donnell.

As a result, O'Donnell is expected to appear before the board tonight.

The public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. at the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City.

How do you think the board should decide? Vote in our poll or tell us in comments.

MG42 July 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Nothing makes more sense to me than having a liquor store in a grocery store. The only people opposed to this are the liquor store owners who weren't smart enough to come up with this efficent partnership themselves. APPROVE IT.
Maralyn Ervin July 30, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Many other states have liquor in their grocery stores. Never heard of it hurting anyones business. Regular single liquor stores should have built up their own business-----Ours has!
Barry Kennedy July 30, 2012 at 05:36 PM
The only thing standing in the way of combining liquor and grocery stores is an outdated sense that liquor is an inherently evil product. Free markets make wiser choices than local governments imposing blue law vintage restrictions.
Erron July 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Can't believe MD has such antiquated, puritanical liquor laws. We're progressive enough to pass same sex marriage but have more backwards laws than Arkansas?!!
fred July 31, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Good point, Erron, but I'm afraid at this point, the objection has less to do with progressive thinking and more to do with protecting special interests.
Don Taskitsnoneofyourbusiness July 31, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Nobody wept for freedom when the board rejected an application from a Latino market on Rt 40, guess when Mr Wegman wants in, suddenly the lovers of freedom come out swinging.
BOH July 31, 2012 at 06:26 AM
First I've heard of it, actually. Link? As for calling out hypocrisy, I'll play. Nobody wept for the independent electronics, appliance, clothing, grocery, organic food, and sporting goods stores when Best Buy, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Giant, Wegman's, Whole Foods, and Dick's came to town, did they? Liquor isn't the only kind of small business that matters. It does matter, but there are ways to enable them to exist without banning alcohol sales in Maryland's grocery stores and gas stations. Need evidence? Small liquor stores thrive quite nicely in states where such sales are allowed, including California, Texas, Florida, etc. There's a better way.
Barry Obama August 01, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Wegmans is like Walmart, they want to control the world through any sneaky means. To Hell with wegmans, put other stores out of business, those f republicans
Barry Obama August 01, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Vote for me and hillarous hillary


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