The Washington State Liquor Control Board has announced phased-in closing dates for its stores, including the four in Kirkland, forced out of business by voter approval last November of Initiative 1183.
Meantime, the Seattle Times reports that the QFC chain is using an exclusivity clause in its real estate contracts to prevent others from selling liquor in some former state liquor store locations in the same shopping centers as its grocery stores, including .
Closing May 29 are the state liquor stores in north Juanita, at 10042 NE 137th; Houghton, at 10609 NE 68th; and Rose Hill, a contract store at 12644 NE 85th. Closing May 31 is the state liquor store in the Totem Lake area, at 11220 NE 124th.
Private liquor sales in Washington will become legal on June 1.
QFC refused to comment on the Times story. But the newspaper quotes an unhappy Kirkland surgeon who won rights to sell liquor at three former state store locations.
"Big-box stores funded the initiative for privatization and a free market, but they want to monopolize the situation," said Jeffrey Roh, an orthopedic surgeon. "They don't even want to let small businesses compete against them in this free market."
Roh is being blocked from opening a store selling spirits in Issaquah. Another local businessman was blocked from opening a liquor store at the former state store near QFC in Totem Lake, the Times reported.
But the new law allows those who won rights to the former state stores to open in another location within a mile if they cannot successfully negotiate a lease at the former state location. And the businessmen who won the rights to the Totem Lake store easily found another site within a mile, at Upper Totem Lake Mall.
For the full Times story, click here.