BJ's Wholesale looks to increase beer, wine displays

By Angie Hilsman | Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Angie Hilsman

BJ's Wholesale Club currently displays beer and wine in two aisles toward the back of the 106,755 square-foot store, but representatives have proposed adding endcap displays that would increase the products' visibility and accessibility.

Attorney Eugene Richard and General Manager Ted Kyriakidis proposed using endcap displays around the store to sell more alcohol when it's seasonally appropriate — for example, around the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving.

Select Board members voiced concern over who can get get their hands on the beer and wine, and when. Unimpressed with the store's ability to monitor the products, the board voted to continue the July 30 hearing on August 14.

Legally, BJ's cannot sell alcohol before 10 a.m. on Sundays, and must block off the beer and wine aisles prior to that time. Richard said that the retail chain does not small nip bottles of alcohol or cold, ready to consume items, and beer is sold by the case.

Kyriakidis explained that endcap displays around the store would "attract people's eyes" and "help the member find the deals."

He added that as security measures, the registers don't allow alcohol sales before 10 a.m. on Sundays, and self-checkout stations call for an attendant when someone tries to purchase alcohol. Additionally, he said camera surveillance is posted on many of the endcaps, and an employee is posted at the door to compare the receipts to a purchase.

"You're not doing justice to the display you have now, and you want to add to it?" asked Select Board member Stan Mickelson.

He said BJ's competitor, Shaw's, drops a chainlink fence from the ceiling and completely blocks off the beer and wine from customers. "Shaw's did the right thing," he said.

The proposal included a map of locations where the beer and wine displays could potentially be placed, but Kyriakidis said not all the locations would be used at once.

"I think it's too open. You're asking for too many things, too many spots," said Mickelson.

Select Board Chair Frank Gracie said he felt more comfortable with the alcohol displays being toward the back of the store, especially to prevent theft. He also felt signs leading shoppers to the displays were more appropriate.

Board member John Haran said that whatever the board decides on this issue will precedent how it handles requests from similar stores.

The Select Board requested a list of dates when such products would be displayed on endcaps before voting to continue the hearing at its next meeting on August 14. Board members agreed that they would not approve displays near the register.

BJ's, located at 460 State Road, received its beer and wine license last year.

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