Governor supports reviewing liquor store closures

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Legislative leaders have joined Gov. Gary Herbert in saying they're willing to take a second look at closing some state liquor stores.

Public outcry is growing after one profitable store closed last week and six others are on a "closure list."

As customer Rick Nobis put it, "I think our wonderful state legislators have shot themselves in the foot."

Frustration continues to build about looming liquor store closures -- especially among customers at stores on list.

"I've written my legislator, I've written the mayor, I've written Becky Lockhart, Waddoups, I've written them all and said, 'People, get real,'" said Deborah Robertson, a customer of the Avenues store set to close.

At the Legislature, feedback isn't quite at the level as it was over HB477, but the Sen. President Michael Waddoups says he is getting plenty of emails and calls.

"There's a lot of give and take and a lot of options that are available to them that I think they should be looking at rather than needlessly scaring the public, saying, 'Your store is going to be closed,'" he said.

Waddoups reiterated that the store closures were a decision by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, based on the budget cuts the Legislature made. The state approved $100,000 for that research at the same time the DABC recommended closing the stores.

Consultants will now review the DABC business plan. The results will weigh profitability of the stores against the savings of closing them.

Wednesday on KSL Newsradio, Herbert again stated his support for the closer look.

"Hopefully at the end of the day, some common sense will prevail," Herbert said.

The decision to close the stores is supposed to be made on April 28. Before all the shelves are emptied, both the governor and the Legislature say they're willing to take a second look.


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Richard Piatt


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