Battle Over Proposed Liquor Store At Columbia Wegmans Rages On

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Venture capitalist Christoper O'Donnell speaks before the Howard County Liquor Board in hopes of getting the green light to open a nearly 10,000 square foot liquor store above the Columbia Wegmans.  He is the husband of Wegmans president Colleen Wegman. (credit: George Mesthos / All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Venture capitalist Christoper O’Donnell speaks before the Howard County Liquor Board in hopes of getting the green light to open a nearly 10,000 square foot liquor store above the Columbia Wegmans. He is the husband of Wegmans president Colleen Wegman. (credit: George Mesthos / All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (CBSDC) — A contentious battle between local liquor store owners and the Columbia Wegmans is brewing at a meeting of the Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Board.

A venture capitalist, Christopher O’Donnell, wants to put a 10,000 square foot liquor store on the second floor of the store. The two outlets would operate independently of each other, but would share an entrance.

O’Donnell’s store would pay rent to the grocery chain for the space.

The wrinkle in this case is largely three-fold.

First, smaller beverage and spirit stores are concerned the large outlet will severely impact their bottom line.

Second, Maryland law largely prohibits the sale of liquor inside grocery stores.

Third, O’Donnell is the husband of Wegmans president Colleen Wegman.

Neither side expects the battle to end Monday night.

“Whoever loses will appeal the decision,” said the owner of Camelot Liquors in Laurel.

Grocery stores are largely prohibited from selling alcohol in Maryland.

Two previous meetings of the liquor board ended without a decision.

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