Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Convenience store owners in Ottawa Valley ready for alcohol sales

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Local convenience store owners say they have been waiting and are ready for beer, wine, and mixed drinks to begin lining their shelves.


On Friday, the Ontario government announced alcohol sales would be coming to convenience stores as early as Sept. 5.


“I think it’s long overdue,” says Eyvind Dahl, owner of Dahl’s Coin Laundry and Convenience in Renfrew, Ont.


It’s an opportunity Dahl says will provide a big boost to business once the products come in stock.


“I believe that it’ll be at least a quarter of what we’re [selling]. If I sell a case of beer, and I sell a bag of ice with that, well, now I’m selling more ice.”


While some voices might be concerned about the added accessibility of alcohol from a health and safety standpoint, consumers are in favour of the added convenience.


“I think it’s great, to tell you the truth. I mean, why not?” says Renfrew resident John Smith.


“You can stop in any time at all to get a six-pack or whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about getting into the LCBO or the Beer Store on time,” he adds.


“Convenience is wonderful,” says Arnprior resident Graham Spall. “And in a small town, accessibility is beautiful for everything like that. If you want a beer or wine or a vodka or whatever.”


Dahl tells CTV News the opportunity to grow his business is not one that will overwhelm local convenience stores, with long-standing experience already selling sensitive products.


“We’re a responsible channel that has been responsible for selling age-restricted products for years. Kids want to buy lottery tickets just as much as they want to buy beer and we catch them at it. We’ve proven it.”


In smaller markets or rural Ontario, where some communities may only have one alcohol retailer, the advantage to expanding into convenience stores is right in the name.


“I think it’s convenience,” says Arnprior resident Doug Mitchell, “It’s a big thing for everybody.”

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