Rhinelander Repeals Gas Station Alcohol Sale Ban

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

A few Rhinelander convenience stores have already put in applications for liquor licenses a day after the City Council repealed an ordinance that had banned them from doing so for decades.

Alderman Alex Young says in the past convenience stores had asked to be allowed to sell beer and liquor, especially since stores outside of city limits could.

It was a push from Kwik Trip, which is eyeing Rhinelander to open two new stores, that influenced the city to finally take action.

"We've had Kwik Trip looking around the city interested in building a couple of convenience stores here and that's one of the items that's in their standard product line so they have made the request of the city," Young said.

There has been some opposition in the community to lifting the ban. The owner of Stein's Lincoln Street Liquor says allowing convenience stores to sell booze means a smaller piece of the pie for his business.

But Young says it's not the city's job to protect one class of businesses over the other.

Others have said allowing gas stations to sell alcohol would make it easier for those underage to steal it. However, gas stations will have to build a separate space to store alcohol within their businesses.

City leaders say there are only a few communities that still ban convenience stores or gas stations from selling alcohol.

The change is effective immediately.

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