Kroger stores adding new displays to get more support for wine

Kroger stores adding new displays to get more support for wine sales

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Kroger is asking its customers to write their names down in support of the change. Kroger is asking its customers to write their names down in support of the change.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Kroger is joining the fight to allow wine sales in Tennessee grocery stores.

For decades, it has been prohibited and efforts to change the law have failed.

On Friday, Kroger stores started a campaign to change lawmakers' minds.

Kroger officials say they feel if their customers voices are heard state lawmakers will move quicker in changing the law.

Not everyone wants the laws to change, especially owners of small liquor and wine stores. They feel things need to stay exactly how they are.

Emily Ogden has been hired by Kroger to spread the word about why wine is not offered at their grocery stores. She set up a display at their new location off Cedar Bluff on Friday.

"One thing Kroger is trying to do is capture those voices, capture those names to let elected officials know that Tennesseans want this," said Ogden.

They are asking their customers to write their names down in support of the change.

Ogden says so far everyone who has come up supports wine sales in grocery stores.

"Absolutely, because it's a one-stop shop," said Kroger customer Susan Millis. "It's just convenient. You don't have to stop, go in there, go everywhere."

Not everyone is in favor of Kroger getting wine sales.

Directly across the street from Kroger in Bearden is Toddy's Liquor and Wine.

"A lot of it has to keeping money at home," said Toddy's employee Dan Fielden. "If they do that a lot of this money will be going out of state. It's not staying local, local distributors and wholesalers. It's all about the big business drowning out the little guys."

It will be up to law makers to make the final decision, and right now there are two sides to this heated debate.

"As with a lot of legislation, sometimes it takes a few yeas to get things moving," said Ogden. "We think this is a great year to actually push it."

The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, which Kroger is part of, has been trying to change the law since 2008.

They started the Red, White, and Food campaign to get this law changed.

None of the bills introduced have ever come out of committee. They are hoping for a new bill to be introduced in January.

Kroger officials say they will have these wine displays in all of their stores state wide soon.

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