BJ's Wholesale denied expansion of beer, wine displays

Aug 29, 2017

The Select Board put the brakes on BJ’s plan to expand its in-store beer and alcohol displays amid reports the company already displayed those products throughout the store without approval.

Appearing before the Select Board on August 28 for a continued public hearing, attorney Eugene Richard and BJ's general manager Ted Kyriakidis again pitched their idea – endcap alcohol displays – as well as displays in the front of the store on certain holidays, such as July 4th and Thanksgiving.

The board, however, met Kyriakidis and Richard with a great deal of distrust.

Member Stanley Mickelson explained that the day after the Select Board meeting on August 9, the Deputy Chief of Police informed the board that there were already endcap displays within the store.

"I find it disconcerting," Mickelson said.

Mickelson was displeased with the fact that beer and wine was being displayed throughout the store without the board's approval, but Richard said those displays had been there since the license was first approved and were taken down immediately after police warned the store.

At the public hearing, Kyriakidis and Richard presented their proposal of having three aisles, as well four endcaps and few displays near the deli, totaling 11 different areas of beer and wine displays. They also proposed displaying the endcaps for the weeks of Easter, Memorial Day, July-Labor Day, Super Bowl week, and from Thanksgiving to New Years. Beer and wine currently fills two aisles in the back of the store.

Mickelson felt Richard and Kyriakidis were asking for too much, especially considering that they have not listened to the board's concerns.

"This is the second time the rules have been stretched," chairman Frank Gracie said. "I will not support you folks because of your actions."

Gracie explained that putting the beer and wine all over the store makes the selling of it less controlled. The board showed concern with the beer and wine being spread throughout the store because it makes it harder to monitor.

At the previous meeting, the board showed concern with display monitoring, especially in the back of the store because of the potential for theft. The board was also concerned with how the purchase of alcohol would be denied on Sundays and in the early morning hours.

At that meeting, Kyriakidis explained that the registers at the store would not allow purchases of liquor before 10 a.m. on Sundays, and the purchase of alcohol is monitored by employees as well as surveillance cameras. The board stopped short of approving the request, and asked to see a list of dates BJ's would like to have endcap displays in the store and continued the discussion until the next meeting on August 28.

Their new proposal included a range of dates to display the end caps, including the weeks of Easter and Memorial Day, July through Labor Day, Super Bowl week, and from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

The board expressed that they no longer felt that they could trust the representatives from BJ's and in a 4-1 vote denied BJ's the expansion of beer and wine throughout the store.