December 7, 2023

Bill to Create New Licenses for C-stores to Sell Beer and Wine Introduced

With NJGCA's strong support, Sen. Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) introduced S-4191 on Monday. This bill would create a new type of liquor license for convenience stores (between 800 and 5,000 square feet) to sell beer and wine. There would be no limit on the amount of these licenses that could be issued, and they could not be transferred or resold like current liquor store licenses. Instead, stores would pay an annual fee of $1,000 per year to maintain the license. There would also be no limit on the number of licenses an individual or company may have (there is currently a cap of 2 licenses per person for liquor stores). 20% of the products offered for sale would have to be made by NJ breweries or wineries.

With this bill we are planting our flag for how a fair system should be structured. 80% of the nation's c-stores already sell beer, and about 65% sell wine products. In those states, liquor stores continue to be open and prosper, as do distributors. The cost of a license should only reflect the cost of enforcement, like gas or cigarette licenses. They shouldn't be seen as assets to be hoarded and traded to give someone a local monopoly. You don't get any government provided protections (or even much sympathy) when a Wawa or Quickchek opens across the street from your business, so why should the State have century-old rules protecting liquor stores from competition. We just want to let customers choose what is most convenient for them. You can read the previous testimony we've submitted on this issue HERE and HERE or read the bill text HERE.

No doubt existing liquor store license holders will be strongly against any attempt at reform. Distributors also oppose reform, they believe that it just means they'll have to make more stops with smaller deliveries. No doubt, these interests do have powerful friends in the Legislature so this will be a tough fight to get any version of this reform passed. Governor Murphy has been strongly pushing for significant reform to liquor licenses for the past year, although he has been focusing almost exclusively on restaurant licenses. Recently he decided to significantly water down the scale of his reforms in the face of opposition in the Legislature, and even after that it's looking like he may not get much

If you are interested in taking an active role and/or you know some interested store owners (even if they're not members), please email 

Store Safety

Earlier this year in the Road Warrior we mentioned this article, which talked about how there are an average of 20 cars crashing into c-stores everyday in the US. We recommended that if you don't already have them, you need to install bollards in front of your store to prevent a terrible accident in which you could be held liable for not having them installed. 

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had an article giving yet another reason to install these. A new crime trend has been for thieves to take a stolen car and ram it into unprotected stores, then run in and steal everything from the cash in the register, to products (especially cigarettes), to the entire ATM. So far "ram raiding" has occurred mostly in California but the ATF is monitoring the trend and afraid it may spread. Be careful how the bollards are installed as well, there's video in the article of a store whose bollards were spaced just far enough apart for a small car to squeeze through and ram into the store while a half dozen people ran in and looted it before the cops could respond. 

If you’re interested in having some installed, try calling our MBP contractors to install the bollards, check them out under the tank installers and pump replacement categories in our MBP brochure listed HERE

Meanwhile the NY Post is reporting on a surge in c-store and bodega owners applying for concealed carry firearm permits as they feel crime in the city is increasing and they can't rely on the police. A US Supreme Court decision last year has made it easier for Americans to get these licenses. Previously the laws in New York and New Jersey had made it virtually impossible for anyone to legally carry a firearm. 

Paid Family Leave Expansion--Update

Last week, NJGCA and many other business groups testified against a proposed bill, A-5166, that would eliminate the exemption for small businesses in the state's Paid Family Leave program. Under current law, all employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave following the birth of a child or to take care of a sick family member. The leave is paid by the State and funded by payroll taxes. While larger businesses are legally required to reinstate the employee when the leave ends, small businesses have the flexibility to bring them back or permanently replace them. When the program became law, a small business was defined as 50 or fewer employees. A few years ago that was lowered to 30. This bill would eliminate the exemption completely over two years. 

While the bill did pass the Labor Committee, it was amended to continue the exemption for business with under 5 employees. We would prefer that was at least 10, but the labor advocates were already sharply complaining about the new exemption. Speaker Coughlin personally showed up to endorse the bill, so we can expect more movement on it soon. 

You can read the testimony we submitted HERE

CARS Act in DC

Earlier this week you should have received an email from us asking you to email your member of the House of Representatives to support the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act up for a vote this week. This bill would repeal the EPA's tailpipe proposal which is structured to ensure that about 70% of new car and truck sales be EVs in eight years. It would also permanently block any new regulations that limit the availability of new vehicles by engine type. Thanks to everyone who participated. 

On Wednesday night the House passed the bill 221-197, with all Republicans in support and almost all Democrats opposed following President Biden putting out a statement of opposition to the bill. Our New Jersey delegation also voted along party lines, with Representatives Jeff Van Drew, Chris Smith, and Tom Kean all voting in favor and Representatives Donald Norcross, Andy Kim, Josh Gottheimer, Frank Pallone, Rob Menendez, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne, Mikie Sherrill, and Bonnie Watson Coleman voting No. 

Free photos with Santa & Happy Hanukkah

This Saturday December 9th one of our members, A Gorga & Sons Valero at 326 Lincoln Ave in Hawthorne will be having a customer appreciation day, complete with an appearance by Santa from 3pm-5pm. 

With the holidays coming up you might be interested in this opportunity that was brought to our attention, especially if you're in the Ocean County area. Free photos with Santa at the Union Church of Seaside Park, 47 4th Ave., Seaside Park this Saturday December 9th 1pm-4pm. Contact Joe Ocello at or 386-314-6349.

Are you doing any holiday themed events at your location? Let us know and we'll amplify your message on our social media pages. Email

Also, a very Happy and Blessed Hanukkah to all those who celebrate, this year the holiday runs from the 7th to the 15th

Member Benefit Partner Spotlight: Bellomo Fuel

Bellomo Fuel is a full service fuel supplier that specializes in supplying independent fuel retailers. They partner with retailers to create flexible, custom supply agreements tailored to a location's specific needs. Give them a call or email to discuss opportunities at your location.

Contact: Ryan Ramsey, 908-486-3900 x112, 

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