Does Palmer/Forks Support Liquor Store Privatization?
Gov. Tom Corbett's plans to privatize state liquor stores meet with mixed reaction in Palmer/Forks.
Want to buy beer and wine from Giant or Weis or Wawa?
You may get your wish as Gov. Tom Corbett announced Wednesday plans to auction off the state's wine and liquor stores with proceeds -- possibly $1 billion -- going to public schools, multiple sources reported.
Corbett said his plan to privatize the liquor stores would sell off both the retail and the wholesale operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and allow customers to buy wine and beer in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and taverns.
That got mixed reactions from people in Palmer and Forks townships Wednesday.
"If Wine and Spirits left, it would negatively impact my business," said Debbie DeRogitis, owner of Something Different Boutique next door. "They're very busy. If big boxes like Wal-Mart get it, then I think it will hurt small businesses everywhere."
"It's definitely more convenient," said Kristine Tanase of Forks Township. "But I guess it means more work for the grocery stores to check IDs though."
"Why not?" Palmer Township Supervisor Bob Lammi said. "We are probably one of the only states that have a system like ours. I see no reason why beer and wine cannot be sold in grocery stores like you see in many states."
The closest state store to Palmer is in the Northampton Crossings shopping center in neighboring Lower Nazareth Township.
"This is much more convenient to the consumer and you will see more small brands of beer being sold in small packages, six-packs versus a case," Lammi continued. "For example, Wegmans (in Lower Nazareth) sells many small brand beers which are now available and very good. Of course, the hard liquors would not be sold in stores but rather in liquor stores. Looking at it a different way, think about the amount of fuel that is consumed of people going to the state store for a bottle of wine versus the amount of fuel that would be consumed going to your local grocery store."
Tawnya Coomer, who lives in Wilson near the Palmer border, commented on the Palmer/Forks Facebook page that she's "not sure I'm for it."
"I mean I used to live in a state that sold in markets and convenient stores and it just seemed drunk driving incidents were higher there than here," she said. "I know it will be more convenient and Weis already has their little mini drinking area but I just don't know. I feel it will also take away from the bar businesses."
The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Public Policy Committee, through Alison Miers, vice president of Easton Initiatives and a member of the Business and Commerce Association of Forks Township, released a statement:
"The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce doesn't have a formal stance," Miers said. "However, I would say that we commend the Governor for putting this entrepreneurial proposal on the table. The Chamber is built on the spirit of enterprise and there are certainly a number of members who have interest in buying into an opportunity like this. As always, jobs are a concern but we look forward to learning more details as the plan is debated in Harrisburg."