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LEOLA, Pa. — Rutter's Farm Stores officials are looking forward to adding to the number of convenience stores the chain sells beer at in Pennsylvania.
"It feels good, because it's been a long time in coming," said Rutter's President and CEO Scott Hartman. "We think it's a changing dynamic in the state, kind of bringing us up to where other states have been."
Rutter's hopes to add beer sales to its recently opened stores in Strasburg, Pa. It also plans to expand aggressively in the near future, with a goal of adding 34 stores over the next five years.
Hartman stated that beer sales are a "significant opportunity for additional sales" in Pennsylvania, as they make up approximately 20 percent of a store's total sales in c-stores elsewhere in the United States. The company would like to make beer sales a standard offering at Rutter's stores.
"It actually took a lot of work and a lot of thinking to be able to figure our way through the changing landscape," Hartman told the news outlet, discussing the decision to add beer sales. "Because it's not as simple here in Pennsylvania as it would be in other states. There's still a lot of rules — and I mean a lot of rules — on the books in terms of how you can sell it, where you can sell it, specifically that you can't sell it where fuel is sold, so you have to have separate registers."
The recent change to Pennsylvania law that makes it easier for c-stores to offer beer was helpful, but Hartman sees room for continued improvement. However, he does not expect to see sudden, dramatic change in how beer is sold within the state.
The company's primary concern is the lack of available licenses to sell beer, even though those licenses already exist and are not being used, according to Hartman.
York, Pa.-based Rutter's is a family-owned convenience store chain operating more than 60 locations throughout central Pennsylvania.