Voter approved I 1183 means job losses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Voter approved I 1183 means job losses

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WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- The voters have spoken, the state will get out of the liquor business.

When the results were read, there were many reactions, happy, sad, and "surprised actually that it took such a big turn from last year," says store owner Kuo-Ying Frenzel

When voters overwhelmingly supported this measure, it meant the end for 164 state controlled liquor stores across Washington. And that of course means people out of work.

Privately contracted stores will stay in business, but owners tell me, don't be fooled. They have a lot to lose as well. "We have much more that is in play in terms of the amount of money contract managers and owners have invested. Whether it's in the building , property," says Frenzel.

When stores close it will put nearly a thousand people out of work. And it's not just jobs in the stores. Human resources and office staff will be affected as well says Brian Smith of the state liquor control board, "the business enterprise is the biggest portion of our agency and so when all operations are shut down, it will equate to about three fourths of the size of the agency out of work."

But business owners like Frenzel, she won't have to lay off her staff of four or worry about the store closing, but she still has questions as to what this measure will mean to her, "What is the landscape going to be? There's so many questions and so many unknowns really including for the consumer and our customers what that price is going to become next year."

Distributors will be able to sell March 1st, then on June 1st large retailers like Costco can sell.

Frenzel expects to still be open, but she knows selling liquor against large stores and making a profit will be a challenge, "It's making this pricing to be competitive an issue, even for small businesses, especially small businesses like us."