Gas stations in Rhinelander can now sell alcohol. The city council made the decision Monday night, reversing a decades-old policy.
Convenience stores will be able to sell beer and liquor after being granted a liquor license, but some people think the change is a bad idea.
Rhinelander city council members voted unanimously to change the law after Kwik Trip officials expressed interest in building some gas stations there.
"When we're comparing different opportunities to make our investments in new jobs and new stores in different communities we have to compare what products we're able to sell," company representative Troy Mleziva told the council.
"When you've got a business that's looking to locate in the area, particularly a good Wisconsin business like Kwik Trip, that kind of gives a little more push to it," council member Alex Young said.
Gas station owners who want to sell alcohol will have to apply for a liquor license that must then be approved by city council.
Young voted for the change and told Newsline 9 it's a good thing. "I think this is actually going to bring in new business from customers that are traveling through the area up to their cabins and so on that currently don't stop in the city."
The rule requires gas stations to keep alcohol in separate areas, but some people said that won't prevent young people from getting their hands on it.
Meanwhile, several liquor store owners in Rhinelander told council members the change will make it hard for them to do business.
"If you start taking away my cash flow, I don't have anything to fall back on," John Stein said. He owns Stein's Lincoln Street Liquor.
Ultimately, the city council disagreed with those arguments. Members said the change will help the city grow.
"Businesses want to have that ability," Young said.
The law will take effect once the Mayor signs it.
Kwik Trip officials said they could build up to three gas stations in the area, but they're still working out the details.
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