Acme Stores, Formerly A&P Stores Still in Full Operation sans Liquor Selling

by San Antonio Attorney

A five decade old New Jersey law prohibits Acme supermarket chain from selling liquor.  A liquor license was a valuable asset at some of the A&P stores it has purchased in North Jersey.

Former A&P stores located in Allendale, Fort Lee and Midland Park have reopened as Acme stores.  Under the previous A&P ownership, the liquor departments were the most famous section.  Now under a new management, Acme is restricted from operating liquor departments in those stores, especially in New Jersey branches.  As stipulated by the 1962 state law, this limits supermarket corporations to two retail liquor licenses in New Jersey.

This restriction doesn’t spare the other food establishments as well.  Trader Joe’s can’t sell its famous wine staple, Two Buck Chuck.  Whole Foods expressed interest to open a liquor department at its store in Paramus but in return the company had to close the wine department at its Madison branch.

The current law prohibits supermarket corporations from bearing more than two liquor licenses in New Jersey.  However, a legal loophole to this rule can be done.  Some supermarket co-operatives, which have individual owners, can procure more than two licenses registering proprietors as multiple store owners.

Prior to 1962, A&P possessed liquor licenses.  The 1962 law was intended to protect small establishment/stores thus prohibiting supermarket and chain stores from owning more than two licenses.

In many other states, multiple licenses are allowed but New Jersey still does not permit it.

A&P stores sealed the deal when they decided to sell 72 stores to Acme when it filed for bankruptcy last July 19.  Acme won the approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the purchase of 71 A&P-owned stores on Sept. 21.

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