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Sparta beer sales have a positive impact for some at the cost of others

Beer sales taking off in Sparta

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) - It's been a little more than two months since Sparta residents voted in favor of allowing beer to be sold within city limits. Area businesses have begun applying for licenses, and those beer sales are starting to take off.

Six businesses have been approved for a beer license, and four more will be approved later this month.

Jaymin Patel, owner of the Amish Cheese House, in Sparta, has already noticed quite a difference in sales since having beer on his shelves, but one store's gain means another store's loss.

When you pull off Interstate 90 into Sparta you'll see the Amish Cheese House. Sandwiched between two hotels, the store receives a lot of travelers.

"End of the night they are looking for beer, which we didn't have here for a long time. Now we got it and they are really excited about it," Patel said. "Just last week alone we sold $2,500 worth of beer in here."

Go just outside the Sparta city limits and you find Fast Eddy's, who has sold beer at that location since 1963.

Since other stores in Sparta have been selling beer, business there has slowed down a little.

"I keep very good records and I have been keeping track of all my packages, and my six packs and my 12 packs have taken a hit," owner of Fast Eddy's, Ed Habhegger, said.

With the loss in customers Habhegger thinks his family-owned business will need to try something new to get them back.

"We will probably have to venture out into other things to put here to get people to come. You know, because you go to the other stores and they have everything, so we're going to have to move into more things to maintain our amount of business we need to operate this," Habhegger said.

Back on the other side of town, at the Amish Cheese House, Patel thinks the added locations to buy beer will benefit the customer.

"It's going to help people save money on gas, and with the advantage of 10 businesses selling beer it's going to be a lot of competition, people are going to get cheaper stuff, so it's good for everybody," he said.

The Amish Cheese House is in the process of building a beer cooler that it hopes to be operational Friday.

The license only allows businesses in Sparta to sell beer. Fast Eddy's said its wine and liquor sales have stayed consistent.

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