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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. here reportedly plans to open a liquor store within its Cherry Hill, N.J. location. The unit will be one of the few grocery stores in the South Jersey region to sell alcohol. Of seven stores it operates in New Jersey, Wegmans sells liquor in its Manalapan, Bridgewater, and Princeton locations.
New Jersey supermarkets have been lobbying for greater access to liquor licenses. Current state law prohibits a person or corporation from owning more than two, limiting the ability of grocery store operators to run many liquor stores.
A strategy employed by some retailers in the state, including Wegmans, is to buy licenses in the names of relatives or franchise owners to avoid exceeding the two-license limit. In the present case, Jason Wehle, a son-in-law of c.e.o. Danny Wegman, paid $500,000 in October for the retail liquor license once held by Corkscrewed on Marlton Pike.
Wegmans spokeswoman Jeanne Colleluori told the Philadelphia Inquirer that planning of the Cherry Hill liquor mart was in its early stages, and she didn't know when liquor sales would start.
Forty-six states allow some beer, wine or liquor sales in grocery stores. Only Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Alaska ban the sale of alcohol in supermarkets altogether.