Small businesses, retail association battle it out over state question

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A state question that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full strength beer and wine seven days a week is heading to the November ballot.

Supporters of State Question 792 claim passage will reduce out-of-state shopping, expand the craft beer industry and support local grape growers.

"We believe Yes on 792 will create more jobs and provide more sales tax revenue for the state of Oklahoma," said Kiley Raper, CEO of the Oklahoma Retail Merchants Association.

"Really all we're doing is doing what our customers want, which is get with the rest of the world and let us have the choice, where we like to buy our adult beverages," said Mike Thornbrugh, manager of Public and Government Affairs with QuikTrip.

On the other side, some metro retailers say this State Question is bad for business.

"I think we would see 300 plus locally owned retail package stores out of business fairly quickly and their employees without jobs," said Bryan Kerr, owner of Moore Liquor and president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma.

Bryan Kerr is a small business owner in Moore.

He hopes voters understand the impact of State Question 792.

"Understand that it's probably going to increase prices for the consumer on spirits, wine and beer," said Kerr.

Some shoppers are also concerned about the unknown.

"I understand the convenience factor but I think impact wise, I really think small business is the core of everything and we need to have operations like this and we need to protect those," said Kevin Choate, Moore resident.

The Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma is also gathering signatures for an opposing State Question they hope to get on the ballot this fall.