“There’s no way we could compete” ABC store owner says of new state ruling

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – A state Supreme Court ruling could have a big impact on liquor stores in South Carolina. The court overturned a decades-old law that limits how many liquor licenses a business can own.

Some store owners say they fear bigger chains could put them out of business.

Don Cegielski opened his ABC shop last year and says the new law has major consequences for his store.

“I just don’t think it’s right. It’s ridiculous,” said Don Cegielski, owner of Don’s Wine and Liquor.

Cegielski moved down to Myrtle Beach to open Don’s Wine and Liquor and says the store was his retirement plan.

“This is something I could do until I have to wheelchair in here and still sell liquor,” Cegielski said.

But now, the owner fears a new state supreme court ruling could cost him and thousands of other small liquor store owners their livelihoods.

“They could totally annihilate everyone and put us all out of business,” said Cegielski.

The court recently ruled a law limiting how many liquor licenses a business could obtain unconstitutional.

Cegielski fears the change will allow bigger chains to dominate the local market.

“I mean there’s no way we could compete with that they’re buying hundreds of cases. I can’t fit that many cases in here,” Cegielski said.

The Executive Director of ABC stores of South Carolina asked the court to reconsider, but Cegielski feels that’s unlikely and is already planning his next move.

“I have a back-up plan in place but that’s not what I would like. And not just for me, for all the small business guys around here,” Cegielski said.

The state supreme court made the decision last week, in a 4 to 1 ruling.

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