Some Maryland lawmakers are campaigning to allow Bowie grocery stores to sell beer and wine in an effort to attract business.
Members of the Prince George’s County delegation in Annapolis submitted a proposal on behalf of the Bowie Council. Chains like Trader Joe's have expressed interest in stores in Bowie, officials said.
“Almost to a person they've said to do that we'd need the authorization to sell beer, wine, stuff like that,” Mayor Frederick Robinson said.
At Bowie Plaza the shell of a one-time Giant store has been empty for years. Most merchants there welcome the idea of a much needed anchor store.
“I'd like to have a food store in this shopping center to bring business,” said Rocky Patel, of Bowie Liquor.
But the owners of Bowie Liquor worry about an anchor store with beer and wine being their undoing -- attracting more shoppers to the plaza but away from Bowie Liquor.
Fiona Chen, owner of a liquor store at Pointer Ridge Plaza off 301 where another former grocery store location could be the next anchor store, agreed.
“Our business is real slow right now, and if they bring a grocery store with the beer and wine it will hurt our business,” she said.
Supporters of the bill stressed that the bill itself, if passed, would not make grocery store beer and wine sales a forgone conclusion. The legislation would enable municipalities to make the decision.