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Letter: Great Barrington short-sighted to deny Price Chopper beer/wine license

To the editor: Great Barrington's fight with Price Chopper over the granting of an additional liquor license is wrong on several fronts. ("Great Barrington denies beer and wine license to Price Chopper/Market 32 for second time," Eagle, March 28.)

First, it’s anti-competitive to allow two other town supermarkets (Big Y and Guido's) liquor licenses and not grant one to Price Chopper.

Second, the argument that granting another liquor license is going to promote underage drinking is absurd in a town where marijuana is more widely distributed than alcohol. If appropriate measures are taken to check IDs, there should be no concerns about underage drinking. I might add that every time I purchase liquor in Big Y my ID is check, even though I'm clearly approaching my septuagenarian years.

Lastly, the argument that smaller specialty stores will be damaged may well have some merit, yet the town has allowed licenses to supermarkets that are very close to Domaney’s south of town, so how is this case different?

The sale of these products in supermarkets is a convenience for customers. It cuts down on stops and simplifies shopping. Specialty stores can compete on selection, price and service, just as they have always done. Given the cost of food these days, our town should be most concerned about supporting vigorous competition among supermarkets. The granting of this license would aid that concern, providing a third supermarket the revenue to compete effectively for Great Barrington customers.

John Squires, Great Barrington

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