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Wegmans To Pay $750K Fine For Running Liquor Stores Without Proper License

Wegmans in upstate Rochester. The family-owned grocery chain will build its first store in the Hudson Valley in Harrison.
Wegmans in upstate Rochester. The family-owned grocery chain will build its first store in the Hudson Valley in Harrison. Photo Credit: Google Maps screen shot

Wegmans, which is preparing to open its first market in the Hudson Valley , is facing nearly a million dollar fine for allegedly operating five liquor stores without a proper license.

The New York State Liquor Authority slapped the grocery store giant with $750,000 in civil penalties to settle eight cases involving violations that include illegally trafficking wine to New York locations, as well as aiding and abetting illegal gifts and services. The Rochester-based company is also facing a potential revocation of their liquor license.

Each of the violating stores has agreed to pay $75,000 in fines. In total, in recent months, Wegmans has been fined a total of $1.125 million for various violations. State law prohibits chain liquor stores and requires each to be independently owned and operated, which put Wegmans in violation of the ABC law.

The stores in violation of operating their liquor stores include markets in Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsford and Johnson City. Wegmans accepted the penalties without contention.

"What these stores have in common is that each is individually owned by a Wegman family member, and each owner is trying to run their store like we run Wegmans, with low prices, great selection and great service,” Wegmans officials said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that the SLA chose to credit complaints from competitors of these liquor stores over the actual facts presented to them during the investigation."

Wegmans currently operates 98 supermarkets on the East Coast in six states. It was recently ranked as the top place to work in retail by Great Place to Work and Fortune.

No date has been set for the opening of Wegmans' upcoming location in Westchester, which will be located at the junction of interstates I-287 and I-684 in Harrison.

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