Lubbock's largest supermarket chain prepares for alcohol sales - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/16/09

Lubbock's largest supermarket chain prepares for alcohol sales

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock's largest supermarket chain readies their stores for new alcohol sales.  We first told you Monday night that the city of Lubbock does not expect to authorize off-premise alcohol sales until at least August 8th. That's due to a pending lawsuit over zoning regulations filed by owners of "The Strip".

We also told you that city planning has received quite a number of building permits from stores that are anxious to sell packaged alcohol.  Now, we go inside United Market Street at 50th and Indiana to learn about their improvements, along with the unique circumstances that affect nearly all of their Lubbock locations.

Until May 9th, Lubbock grocers had no reason to build a supermarket with a packaged alcohol section. "This is the first time we've ever had to do multiple stores in a single community at one time," United Supermarkets Director of Corporate Communications Eddie Owens said.  He says out of Lubbock's nine United locations, only one was built to accommodate beer and wine. That's United Market Street at 98th and Quaker.

"So, it's been a bit of a challenge to find a place to put existing product and make room for new product," Owens said.  He tells NewsChannel 11 an addition to United Market Street at 50th and Indiana is for storage.  That's because they expect to move a lot of product out of that location.  Owens says out of all the United Supermarkets in the state, the 50th and Indiana location in Lubbock has the most traffic.

"We're pretty much on hold from the legal perspective until the city council passes the ordinance, and we really can't do anything along those lines right now, but we can do things at the store level that have to be done, which is essentially shifting product around and making additional room," Owens said. 

City council will have the first of two readings of the proposed zoning ordinance on June 23rd. From there, the city expects to be able to approve permits in August, but TABC makes the final determination. That process can take anywhere from one to three months.

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