WAUKESHA — Is a separate section inside Waukesha grocery
stores necessary to help deter liquor thefts or is it a
That was the question discussed by the Ordinance &
License Committee this week, following a proposed
amendment to the city code that would allow the
yet-to-be constructed Meijer store on Sunset Drive to
sell beer, wine and liquor together with regular
Under its current design, ordinance 9.09 requires
grocery stores within the city that offer hard liquor to
sell it in its own designated section with its own
register, away from the rest of the food and beverages.
Alderman Aaron Perry brought forth the proposal to
change that ordinance, doing away with the requirement
and allowing stores to sell all items together, arguing
that separating hard liquor from other goods does
nothing to deter theft or underage drinking
“There is nothing stopping a 15-, 17- or 20-year-old
from walking into the liquor department, grabbing a
bottle of vodka and putting it under their jacket,”
Perry said during Monday’s O& L meeting. “There is
nothing to stop that. They can do it in the frozen
section, they can do it in a separate liquor section —
that argument holds no water whatsoever.”
Perry added that the change would help cut costs at both
a construction and staffing level for the stores, which
should be embracing advanced technology to help thwart
Brian Randall, an attorney appearing at the meeting on
behalf of Meijer, explained how the store currently
employs multiple anti-theft tactics — from staff
training and product protection bottle caps to the very
layout of the stores themselves.
said Meijer does not want to dedicate resources to
staffing the extra area, but is willing to add
surveillance cameras in its liquor section as well as
televisions to reinforce the notion to potential thieves
that they are being watched.
Alderman Vance Skinner said he does not see the separate
section as an inconvenience, noting that other local
chain grocery stores including Woodman’s and Walmart
have successfully followed the ordinance.
“This is what Waukesha requires,” he said during the
meeting. “We have made a lot of accommodations for
Meijer — and that is not to be negative or anything like
that — but we have made a lot of accommodations here.”
Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings also added that no other
grocery stores in the area have made this sort of
O& L Committee ultimately voted against recommending the
proposal to the Common Council in a 3-2 vote.
because the city has no rule against forwarding items
with negative referrals, Perry said he intends to bring
the proposal up before the full council at its meeting
next week, adding that he plans to contact other local
stores to weigh their thoughts on the matter.
council meets next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., though the
agenda for that meeting has not yet been released.