LIMERICK PA – The next Giant Food Store in western Montgomery County to sell beers and wines on premises – to either drink in or take out – is likely to be the retailer’s location in the Lakeview Shopping Centre at 967 S. Township Line Rd., thanks to an approval granted last Tuesday (Jan. 16, 2018) by the Limerick Board of Supervisors.
Board members, following a public hearing, voted to accept the state’s transfer of a inter-municipal restaurant liquor license to Giant for use in its Royersford market from another company, WGI Holdings LLC. Among 58 other Giant locations in Pennsylvania already operating with liquor licenses are its stores on Ridge Pike in Upper Providence, at Upland Square in West Pottsgrove, and on Route 113 in Souderton.
Legislative revisions made last year to the state liquor code allow the license transfer and reflect a national trend of “changes in the marketplace,” according to attorney Ellen Freeman, who represented Giant during the hearing. Consumers increasingly prefer to buy alcoholic beverages where they also buy their groceries, she explained.
Giant will restrict its alcoholic beverage sales to a remodeled and distinctly separate in-store cafe area for 30-patron dining and purchases-to-go. It’s expected to operate Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., supervisors learned. Construction for the remodeling won’t begin until September (2018), Giant special projects Manager Colin Heap added.
Beverage sales would not start until November. On-site consumption, which Freeman said studies show is “very limited,” would require the additional purchase of a food item, and would be limited in quantity.
Only Giant employees who have taken certified training to spot visible intoxication in a purchaser, and recognize falsified personal identification material, will work in the cafe. They also will be required to ask for proof of age from all buyers no matter how old they may appear, Freeman said. That policy raised the ire of Supervisor Thomas Neafcy, who said he found it “offensive.”
“It throws common sense out the window,” Neafcy told Freeman, because trained employees should be able to readily identify by sight those adults who seem old enough to have surpassed state age limits, he said. “It’s ridiculous,” he added.
Freeman acknowledged Neafcy’s concern, but noted the value of the license – Giant has bought several at prices exceeding $400,000 – prompted the retailer to exercise greater caution and avoid the potential of liability. “We card everyone,” Heap said; “it minimizes guesswork.” Ultimately, Neafcy was the sole opponent when supervisors voted their approval.
Neafcy also questioned whether Giant captured information about alcoholic beverage buyers at the cash register for later marketing use. Heap said it did not.
Related (to the Limerick Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 16 meeting):
- Limerick Board OKs Giant Food Beer, Wine Sales
- Exelon Plans: Raze Info Center, Build Warehouse
Photos from Google Images; and by The Post Publications