Durango business owners wary of voting on host of ballot measures – Durango Herald


Three measures related to alcohol have drawn the ire of local merchants

A sign at Wagon Wheel Liquors encourages voters to vote on Propositions 125 and 126. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The only thing more difficult than a one-eyed jackalope in Durango is owning a local business — not to mention wine and spirits — selling wine to grocery and convenience stores.

And getting only one in three alcohol-related proposition voters at the ballot box on Nov. 8 — it’s still the province of the two-eyed jackalope.

At Friday morning’s Durango Business Improvement District meeting, nothing got the coffee-charged attendees to vote no on all three of their proposals — 124, 125 and 126.

“Tell everyone,” the man urged. “They all came from Denver.” “The grocers have no shelf space,” shouted another. “It hurts the local vendors,” someone said. “Local vendors donate to many local causes” came the final call – which seemed to solve the rolling and high-backed chairs.

The list, for those who haven’t studied the ballot measures in question, let alone highlight the sections on the ballots, is just that.

A yes vote on Proposition 124 would allow retail liquor stores to apply and, if approved, increase the number of locations over time, with no limit on the number of locations after 2037. In the year until 2026 and a total of four positions thereafter.

A yes vote on Proposition 125 would allow grocery and convenience stores that currently sell beer to sell wine. No vote will allow them to continue selling beer but not wine.

A yes vote on Proposition 126 would allow third-party companies to serve alcohol from grocery and convenience stores, liquor stores, bars and restaurants — permanently. A no vote would maintain the current law, which requires businesses to use their own staff to serve alcohol. Bars and restaurants can offer take-out and delivery alcohol until July 2025.

It was not difficult to determine where a sample of Durango merchants directly involved in the sale of spirits and other adult beverages stood. Although there is a wild rabbit.

West’s owner, manager, cashier, purser and self-described “mop bucket filler-on,” Larson Eff, explained the votes in numerical order of the proposals – “No” – “No, big hell no” – and “No.”

“I think 124 is another thing to destroy the little guy,” said Eff. “How many people can afford to buy more than one liquor store? This does not help small liquor stores.

A big “no” vote for 125 is a no-brainer because I’ll shut it down, he said.

“When they[grocery stores]started selling beer, I lost a third of my business,” he said. “I’m not going to stay here for minimum wage,” and Proposition 126 had no favors. “Again, it cuts into the liquor store business. I don’t have my entire livelihood tied up in this, but I have a lot.

Mark Raymond, general manager of Wagon Wheel Liquors, offers a shot of the Wagon Wheel room.

He was indifferent to the proposal in Statement 124 that any additional positions would come from family-owned small operators. Proposition 125 is hands down no.

“I want the money from these businesses to stay in our area,” he said. “I’d rather Coloradans get the profits from these businesses than the big corporations that take their money out of Colorado.”

When asked about local grocery and convenience stores, ask, “What stores are there locally?

“There are no local convenience stores in our city,” he said. “They are gas stations owned by a large corporation or grocery stores owned by large corporations.” Raymond also said he would not vote on Proposition 126.

“The people who work for DoorDash and Uber Eats, the liability, there are situations where kids order alcohol online and the drivers don’t care and deliver to kids.”

Candice Archuleta, manager of Durango Liquor & Wine Company, was a rare find. But her small acceptance rests on a logic that silences rolling chairs at an early morning business meeting.

She was divided into 124 opinions. “Seeing how I live in a small town, I say yes. If I lived in a big city I would probably say no to big box liquor stores just because they would hurt the little moms and pops. Proposal 125 was a wash. “no way. I want to keep my wine sales going. In the proposal 126…

“Yes,” she said. “Because I’d love to have my margarita.”

In the year The move to sell full-strength beer in grocery and convenience stores starting in January 2019 will no doubt hurt the bottom lines of local liquor stores, but none are known to have gone out of business. Expanding wine sales may or may not be the straw that breaks that back — but it’s not the idea that many local merchants are looking for an opportunity.

gjaros@durangoherald.com





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