Shoppers cross state line to buy wine in grocery stores

Shoppers cross state line to buy wine in grocery stores

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It has been allowed in Virginia since 1934, according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It has been allowed in Virginia since 1934, according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
"I think it's very convenient," Bristol resident Anne Koehner said. "I'd like to see Tennessee do it, too." "I think it's very convenient," Bristol resident Anne Koehner said. "I'd like to see Tennessee do it, too."
Karen Self said their wine selection attracts people from across the state. "We take special orders," Self said. "We cater to our customers." Karen Self said their wine selection attracts people from across the state. "We take special orders," Self said. "We cater to our customers."

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

BRISTOL, Va. (WATE) - Wine in grocery stores is stirring up heated debate in Knoxville as elected leaders consider changing state law. But just across the state line in Virginia, they've been doing it for decades.

It has been allowed in Virginia since 1934, according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The Food City in Bristol, Va. dedicates nearly two aisles to the wine selections.

"Everything that you need is in one place," Bristol resident Anne Koehner said.

Koehner lives in Tennessee but crosses over into Virginia to do her shopping so she can buy groceries and wine in the same place.

"I think it's very convenient," Koehner said. "I'd like to see Tennessee do it, too."

Other Tennessee residents said they choose the Virginia grocery store over a liquor store because of the convenient hours.

"Liquor stores are closed on Sunday, so that's one we reason we get the wine from the grocery store," Bristol resident Bobby Rutter said.

Some Virginia liquor stores told 6 News wine is still a big seller even though local grocery stores carry it on their shelves, too.

Karen Self is the co-owner of George & Sids, a liquor store on the Virginia side of Bristol.

Self said their wine selection attracts people from across the state.

"We take special orders," Self said. "We cater to our customers."

Self said she has had the store for around 28 years and said the grocery store competition doesn't pose a big threat to business because the law was already established when the store opened.

"It hasn't really impacted us at all," Self said.

But Self said changing the law in Tennessee would be unfair for small business owners, because it would likely take a while for them to adjust to the changes.

"I think it would overall just hurt their business and maybe even put them out of business," Self said. "It would kill a lot of small businesses."

But others said the law would better serve Tennessee customers.

"It would be nice to be able to have it all in one place," Koehner said.

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