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Norm's Beer & Wine (in Vienna)


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Details from Wapo.

I shop here occasionally. They have a great selection of beer but I believe that landlords have a right to maximize profit.

Here's my beef. Vienna already has lost a great number of local businesses and the fact of the matter is that we are inundated with banks, mattress stores, and a bunch of other crap that comes in as "safe bets" for the landlords. I'm happy about the recent additions of the Pure Pasty Company, Plush Gelato, and Cafe Amouri, and I seriously doubt that there would be major competition for this Fresh Market, as far as I can tell, from Norm's. In fact, I'd be more worried if I was Norm and while you are off buying your groceries, decide it's a heck of a lot easier to just buy your beer in the Fresh Market. Also, does this mean that the bakery in the same strip will also be forced out because, presumably, Fresh Market will be serving baked goods. Again, a huge loss if that were to be the case. I used to be a big customer at Norm's, and while I no longer frequent the store, I will never set foot in the Fresh Market for demanding, or accepting, a non-compete clause in their lease.

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Fresh Market could do worse. They could come in, use predatory pricing to take business away from Norm and cause it to go out of business slowly and painfully. Obviously that's a more costly way of getting rid of competition.

-Norm was actually looking forward to Fresh Market going in. He felt that his selection would draw people in, even though FM will be selling beer and wine.

-Regarding the non-compete clause and Cenan's and Baskin-Robbins (FM will sell ice cream, right?), I learned today that they're actually in a separate mall with different owners. From Blockbusters' empty shell to FM is one owner and the dry cleaner to the Indian spice store is a different one.

-Regarding "maximizing profit", I seriously doubt FM cared that Norm is in that space. I think the property owner put the non-compete clause in as an incentive, but I'm hoping (maybe naively) that FM didn't actually demand it.

I'm hoping, for Norm's sake (and mine and other beer/wine lovers in the area), that FM will realize they're making themselves look bad by drumming out a local owner. They want to be known as a community business (even though they're a corporation) and they're getting some major bad press about this deal. It's important that anyone upset about this situation either write a letter to FM headquarters, sign the petition at Norm's (which he didn't start, by the way) and/or sign up on the Save Norm's Beer and Wine Facebook page. It's also important to keep up the drumbeats. If the movement peaks and dies, then nothing will be done. Norm's can't afford to move to another spot in Vienna, it's too expensive for a small business like his.

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Apparently the grassroots campaign has made some progress:

The Fresh Market

We’re very excited to be coming to Vienna and to be bringing our unique shopping experience to the community. Being responsible and active participants in the community is what The Fresh Market does and is an important part of who we are. As we have learned more about the Vienna community it has become apparent that Norm’s Beer & Wine is an integral part of the fabric of Vienna. We will work with Norm so that he can continue to serve his patrons from his existing location. We look forward to being neighbors with Norm’s Beer & Wine and together serving the residents of Vienna for many years to come.

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