Allow grocers to sell liquor

Joe Grieshaber

By A Contributor

One of the many benefits of Kansas living are the free market principles valued by the people and initiated by the state. Yet in one area, we’ve long avoided changing how adult beverages are sold, allowing the government, not consumers, to dictate where these items are purchased.

At Dillons, our store associates field questions daily from customers who ask why they can’t purchase adult beverages in our stores. Were it not for restrictive Kansas laws adopted during the Prohibition era, Dillons customers would have the benefit of choosing to purchase their dinner wine at the same time they’re shopping for the week’s grocery items.

For more than 90 years, Dillons has been a quality and reputable grocery store pre-ferred by Kansans as the place to do their shopping. Our growth didn’t happen overnight, and it was never a guarantee.

Our store had to evolve from selling basic grocery items to include pharmacies, floral shops, bakeries and banking services. Consumer demand prompted these additions. We’ve had to adapt countless times to continue to meet the needs of our customers, lest they choose to do business with one of our many competitors in the market (including an ever growing number of nontraditional re-tailers like dollar stores, Menard’s or Braum’s, which are all adding more grocery items to their stores).

Only by listening to our customers and adjusting to meet their needs have we been able to build a solid company that today employs nearly 10,000 associates who live, work, pay taxes and raise their families in Kansas. Each year, Dillons pays millions of dollars in taxes (income, real estate/property, unemployment, sales, fuel), reinvests millions back in our stores through renovations and new construct-ion, and donates both cash and products to hundreds of organi-zations throughout the state.

Competition has made us a better supermarket company. It’s challenged our stores to improve service, product offerings, prices, infrastructure, and more.

While we’d all love to be the sole provider of goods, a mono-poly on sales is only beneficial to the business owner. Consumers win in an open market. That’s why Kansans favor free-market enterprise.

Dillons, and Kroger, believe in those same principles.

Neighboring states Missouri and Nebraska are among the 36 states that have empowered their citizens to choose where they purchase adult beverages. Kansas residents living along the Missouri and Nebraska borders benefit from the free market as many opt to cross the border where grocery shopping can include the purchase of alco-holic beverages in both states.

By adopting laws that favor consumer choice, Kansas can not only stop the loss of tax dollars to Missouri and Nebraska, but also reap the economic benefits that stem from grocery, convenience and liquor stores competing in an open market.

I encourage you to share your support of Dillons and the Uncork Kansas Coalition by contacting your representatives. You can also learn more at It’s time the law benefit consumers, not the special-interest retailer.

Joe Grieshaber is president of Dillons, which is headquartered in Hutchinson.

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