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Some N.S. corner stores looking to get into the booze game


A newspaper is just one of the items customers can get at the Hydrostone Groceria in Halifax. One thing they don’t have, however, is alcohol.

“We don’t hear it all the time,” says employee Derek Ross. “But it’s something that especially people that come from away, stop into the store and say, ‘Do you guys sell beer or wine?’ And then they're surprised that we don’t.”

There is a growing movement to change that, especially after the Ontario government announced Thursday that consumers will soon be able to buy beer, wine, and coolers at grocery and convenience stores in that province by 2026.

“We want to make sure that we are in line with everybody else in the world and across Canada,” Premier Doug Ford says.

New Brunswick is the only Maritime province that offers booze sales outside of provincially-run stores.

“People of the province would want it,” says Mike Hammoud, Atlantic vice president of the Canadian Convenience Store Industry, which has been lobbying governments for years to allow alcohol to hit the shelves here.

A Halifax convenience store is pictured. (Source: Jonathan MacInnis/CTV News Atlantic)

“We’ve done some polling over the years and the polling has been very positive and has increased here after year,” says Hammoud. “I think the number right now is somewhere in the mid-70s range of support.”

Customers and corner store staff seem to agree.

“I would say I’m in favour. I think it would make it more accessible for the general population,” says Benjamin Boylan.

“It’s just nice to be able to pop in somewhere and get everything you need in one stop and it’ll definitely help having another product in store,” adds Derek Ross.

To soothe concerns over potentially increasing the availability of alcohol to the public, Hammoud says they are open to promoting social responsibility campaigns within their stores. The decision to offer booze doesn’t seem imminent, however. No talks are currently planned with the province to allow convenient stores to add another product to their shelves.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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