Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett unveiled a plan yesterday to privatize the state’s approximately 620 wine and liquor stores. It’s an idea that’s been debated in various circles around the Commonwealth for decades.
And, it’s a move that will continue to be debated in the coming weeks, as state lawmakers delve into the details of Corbett’s plan, which, if ultimately approved, could inject about $1 billion into education funding in Pennsylvania, according to a press release issued by the governor Wednesday.
Nima Hadian, owner of Shangy’s in Emmaus, says that he is “100 percent in favor of privatization.” Shangy’s, he says, draws customers from multiple states, including New Jersey, New York and Ohio, and privatization would simply allow Shangy’s to serve its customers better.
“We have the largest selection of beer in the country,” Hadian says. “We would love the opportunity to sell wine and liquor. Consumers would see four to five times the selection over what they see now.”
In a nutshell, Hadian says, for the consumer, privatization means better customer service, in the form of more knowledgeable store staff, larger selection and the convenience of one-stop shopping.
Hadian adds that he supports both parts of the governor’s plan – eliminating the state stores and the changes to regulations on alcohol packaging, which would allow beer distributors like him to sell beer in smaller quantities.
“I would love the ability to sell less than a case,” Hadian says. “There is a lot more risk in spending $60 for a case of beer that you have never heard of than in spending $8 for a four-pack.”
For his store, which currently operates with 35 employees, privatization will also mean hiring – to the point of potentially doubling his current staff, Hadian says. The predicted need for additional employees comes from the fact that under a privatized system Hadian could possibly be adding 4,000 new SKUs to the store.
“At this point [privatization] is a no-brainer. I don’t think you could find a single consumer who would not be in favor of this. A consumer who would say ‘keep it the way it is now.’”
Now, we want to know what you think…Is Hadian right? Is privatization a "no-brainer" or do you think the Commonwealth should keep the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania the way it is now? Tell us in the comments below.