Shippensburg Sheetz to Sell Suds

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board approves sales at second "convenience restaurant"

Sheetz beer (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Beverages)

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Convenience store retailer Sheetz Inc. has been approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to sell beer at a new c-store in Shippensburg, Pa., reported The Patriot-News.

On July 16, the LCB approved the license for the Shippensburg Sheetz convenience store, the first in central Pennsylvania to sell beer.

The store opened July 17, but it could take a few weeks before it starts selling beer, pending an onsite inspection by the LCB, Gary Zimmerman, assistant vice president and legal counsel for Sheetz, told the newspaper.

Sheetz has invested more than two years in its fight to sell beer at the store. It has faced opposition from citizens, Shippensburg borough police chief and groups such as the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.

"We understand some of these decisions are not easy," Zimmerman told the paper. "For us, it's about providing customers a place to get what they want, and they have overwhelmingly told us they want to buy it in safe and convenient locations. It's all about the consumers."

Zimmerman said the store will sell more than 90 beer products including domestic, import and craft beers. The store will have two separate sides--one dedicated to the restaurant with beer sales and the other side the convenience store.

Sheetz already sells beer in one of its Altoona, Pa., convenience stores. While Pennsylvania c-stores like Sheetz cannot sell alcohol under current law, restaurants are permitted to sell a six pack of beer. In 2007, after a long regulatory battle, Sheetz opened a restaurant, which it calls a "convenience restaurant," adjacent to this store and obtained a restaurant liquor license.

Zimmerman said the chain is considering selling beer in a second location in Altoona.

The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol and also operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide. It returns taxes and store profits to Pennsylvania's General Fund.

Based in Altoona, Sheetz owns and operates more than 460 convenience stores in six states.

Click here to view the full Patriot-News report.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers