First day of private liquor store sales - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

First day of private liquor store sales

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- Friday is the first day for alcohol sales in private stores across the state.

Some stores are offering deals to lure in customers. The Richland Fred Meyer is very busy with alcohol sales. They brought in thousands of cases of alcohol but say they still didn't anticipate just how successful it would be. Customers are showing they're positive about the changes in the liquor buying process.

Some people find it odd to be able to buy groceries and alcohol in the same place and others are just happy to have it out of the government's hands.

Many stores are offering sales initially before bumping up the prices. People are worried about the additional taxes the state is tagging on, totaling 20.5%.

The Richland Fred Meyer Store Director, Chris Meagher, says the transition is bringing big business. A shopper, Stuart F., says the alcohol is being sold right where it should be.

"It's busier than we anticipated. We have a lot of product in the store we're trying to get onto the shelf because we didn't anticipate it to be this big of a success right off the bat. We've got more of it coming in tonight to refresh," says Meagher.

 "This is the way it should be where free enterprise has the business. They collect the profits and send the taxes to Olympia," says Stuart.

Stores like Fred Meyer have a new responsibility to monitor the hard liquor in a very large space that state stores didn't have to deal with. To prevent possible theft, each bottle at Fred Meyer has a bottle lock on it that also works as a censor, and will go off if it's stolen.

The sales won't last forever so people are stocking up. Stores that don't have sales have been met by angry shoppers frustrated by the higher cost.

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