TORONTO – Ontario convenience stores are waiting for premier-designate Doug Ford to keep his promise to remove restrictions to allow retailers to stock beer and wine, The Globe and Mail reports. The Canadian convenience store channel has been struggling lately.
“It’s time,” said Dave Bryans, chief executive officer of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. “I would love to see some stores open, on this [promise], by the end of the year.”
Ford had campaigned on getting beer and wine into grocery stores, big box retailers and convenience stores as soon as possible. “Ontario is mature enough for this change and ready [to] join other jurisdictions in making life a little more convenient,” he said in a statement.
Currently, more than 350 supermarkets have cider and beer, which includes up to 70 that stock wine. The Liberal government had plans to add around 100 grocery stores, plus the 450 beer stores and 660 LCBO locations (a government-run liquor store). Ford had promised to increase outlets, which would face oversight by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
For Terry Yaldo, owner of Midway Convenience, the change can’t come soon enough because his 20-year-old business is declining. “It’s getting tougher and tougher for one little guy like me to stay operating and try to be as competitive as possible. Adding beer and wine would help us get our traffic back to where we need to,” he said.