The Patriot Ledger reports that Marshfield selectmen have awarded the town’s last remaining beer-and-wine license to the Roche Bros. supermarket, just three months after rejecting Star Market’s bid for the same permit.
Both stores are off Route 139, about 2 miles from each other. Although the selectmen voted unanimously to award the license to Roche Bros., one member of the board said the town should ask the state to grant an additional license for Star Market.
“It gives Roche Bros. an unfair competitive edge in Marshfield,” Selectman John Hall said.
Selectmen said they rejected Star Market’s request for the beer-and-wine license in February in order to avoid concentrating the sale of beer and wine near the intersections of Route 3A and Webster Street. They said there are four other liquor stores within walking distance of the Star Market at 20 Snow Road.
Hall told the Ledger that he was opposed to alcohol sales at all grocery stores in Marshfield until he recently drove through a neighboring community and noticed a growing number of alcohol-selling establishments, including grocery stores and gas stations.
“If we are trying to protect our small businesses by not giving beer-and-wine licenses to our supermarkets, then our supermarkets are at a disadvantage to the stores on the outskirts of town,” Hall said.
Because the board has no more beer-and-wine licenses to give, the selectmen have agreed to discuss the possibility of proposing a home-rule petition that would give Star Market a license to sell alcohol. For this to happen, a home-rule petition must be approved at a town meeting and by the state Legislature.
Steve Sylven, spokesman for Supervalu Inc., the parent organization that owns Shaw’s and Star Market locations, said the beer-and-wine license can provide their customers with a more convenient shopping experience.
“Although we were disappointed that the initial request for a license was not granted, we are pleased the Marshfield selectmen are potentially open to revisiting our application and are looking forward to that future discussion,” Sylven said.
McDonough told the Ledger that Blanchard’s Wine and Spirits at 700 Plain St. is the only alcohol-selling merchant within walking distance of the Roche Bros. store, which is at 605 Plain St. McDonough also said he was impressed with the supermarket chain’s track record with the selling of beer and wine.
“They have beer-and-wine licenses in three other (Massachusetts) communities, and they’ve never had any issues,” he said.