NJ liquor store owners form trade association
New Jersey liquor store owners are speaking out against proposed changes to the state’s liquor licensing system.
In the May 25 press release announcing its launch, the Garden State Liquor Retailers’ Association (GSLRA) said the group would be dedicated to safeguarding the interests of family businesses, especially minority and immigrant entrepreneurs, in the alcohol retail sector.
“Protecting and promoting the interests of our diverse members is at the heart of what we do,” said Amrish Vakil, President of GSLRA, “In championing social justice, equity and the preservation of Main Street values, we aim to create an environment where small businesses can thrive, contribute to their communities, and play a vital role in New Jersey’s economic growth.
According to Vakil, the organization will take a leadership role in advocating for policies that protect family stores, protect community investments and prevent big box stores from gaining an unfair advantage at the expense of local businesses.
“Through education, advocacy and collaboration, GSLRA strives to foster a fair and thriving alcohol retail industry in New Jersey,” said Kalpesh Maru, Vice President of GSLRA, “An industry that not only benefits its members, but also local communities and the state as a whole.”
A spokesperson for the group told NJBIZ that the GSLRA has about 62 members and continues to count.
The official launch was announced a day after the Assembly Oversight and Reform Committee heard a series of moves to loosen Prohibition-era liquor licensing laws.
The bills under consideration compete with Gov. Phil Murphy’s broader proposal to gradually increase the number of liquor licenses available statewide.
The survey says
New Jerseyans are sharply divided over Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal to increase the number of liquor licenses available in the state, according to poll results released in February. Click here to read the results.
During the May 24 debates in Trenton, coalition members were on hand to stand up for “justice, fairness, and the preservation of Main Street values that contribute to the strength and vibrancy of New Jersey communities.”
The GSLRA said it “strongly supports moves to maintain the current limit on the number of liquor licenses a person or entity can hold” and “will oppose any action that devalues existing licenses obtained through to the hard-earned efforts and investments of members and their families, as well as drop shipping that threatens the integrity of New Jersey’s liquor distribution system and undermines the ability of small businesses to compete.
Specifically, the organization is against Assembly Bill 1283, which would remove the full distribution license limit for certain stores, and A5461, which would allow municipalities to transfer inactive liquor retail licenses. for use in redevelopment areas and would allow retail distribution and seasonal consumption licenses to be converted to consumer licenses.
At the assembly committee meeting, A5461 was voted on and ignored objections from local liquor store owners, while A1283 was on the agenda for amendments only.