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Uptown Grocery, Buy For Less quitting wine and beer sales

Two metro upscale grocery stores are ending beer and wine sales under new ownership. The changes are coming to two Uptown Grocery stores and the Buy For Less at 3501 NW Expressway that will join the Pruett’s Foods chain on Monday. The stores are part of a sell-off by longtime owners Hank and Susan Binkowski who are leaving the grocery business. Some Uptown Grocery customers began to notice a dwindling supply of wine leading up to New Year's Eve.

“We were looking for a more upscale place,” Sonntag said. “We love the store.” Uptown Grocery was among dozens of stores that added high-point beer and wine to their shelves when liquor laws changed in 2018. The store on Covell Road turned an area once dedicated to vitamins and health supplements into a display of wine and beer. Refrigerator cases also were cleared to make way for cold beer. “It’s such a stark reality,” Sonntag said. “They changed everything around the beer and wine. And now it’s gone.”

Sonntag asked whether the clearance of wine and beer was prompted by either religion or a moral stance by the new owners.

Ray Pruett responded that the elimination of wine and beer sales is a business decision and not prompted by religious or moral values. Small-town roots and values also weigh on the company choices.

Pruett’s Foods dates back to 1946 when the first store was opened by Raymond and Jewel Pruett. The company is now run by their grandson, Ray Pruett, with a fourth generation joining him in growing the 10-store chain in southeast Oklahoma.

“It’s something we do at our other stores,” Pruett said. “I’m 50, I’m a third-generation grocery guy and we come from a small town. When you’re in that small town there aren’t that many retailers out there. When we started there was us in the grocery business and friends in the convenience store business, and for those guys, beer is a big part of their business.”

The decision early on was simple for the Pruetts: “You don’t want to compete with your friends.”

That long ago decision stuck. Pruett's Foods never sold beer and never made space for higher point beer or wine when the law changed.

“It’s a difficult business,” Pruett said. “The margins are thin. The government regulations are extensive. It’s easier not to sell.”

Pruett said he enjoys an occasional drink and did so during a date with his wife on New Year's Eve weekend during a visit to Oklahoma City.

this story is a repost from


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