This morning I posted that there’s a Facebook group that has been created to recruit Trader Joe’s, an upscale health-food store that is very popular, to open a location in Memphis. Since then I’ve been told that it’s not gonna happen, given the current Tennessee state laws. Specifically, Trader Joe’s derives a significant amount of its revenue from the sale of wine in its stores. Wine is not allowed to be sold in grocery stores in the state, so there’s a huge disincentive for Trader Joe’s to relocate here.
A reader sent me a link to a site called Red White and Food which is petitioning to get Tennessee’s archaic liquor laws changed, to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. Regardless of whether you drink wine, you should be concerned about this, especially as Downtown residents. A grocery store like Trader Joe’s would be a great fit for Downtown, and would sell not only wine but a variety of healthy items at reasonable prices, items that would not be found elsewhere in Memphis. The outdated liquor laws get in the way of recruiting this kind of store.
Why haven’t the laws been changed? Because the liquor distributors spend a lot of money lobbying the state legislature to keep the current, closed system. They’ve been getting rich off the current system for many years and are not interested in seeing it change. Once again, the politicians are looking out for special interests, not your interests.
Check out the site, and sign up to help if you want to see the laws changed.