Bottle shop battleground
And silly me believed that liquor outlets were approved by the licensing authorities on the basis of need – in other words, a lack of existing outlets nearby.
Several years ago, Amato’s and the local community succeeded in stopping Woolworths building a Dan Murphy’s on the same site, the narrow strip of land between Darley Road and the City West Link road. But suddenly, as if by magic after a spring rain, one has sprung up.
It’s much like any other lower-tier Dan Murphy’s. In other words, it doesn’t have as wide a range as flagship stores like South Strathfield or Willoughby. But it has convenient free parking underneath and a lift to take you up to the grog if your legs aren’t up to the job.
I’ve always liked Amato’s. It’s not perfect but it has a homely feel, a massive stock of wine and reflects the Italian nature of the suburb. And keeps an amazing range of liqueurs, many of them Italian. Italian snacks and gourmet foods, too. It feels as if real people run the place.
I hope the Leichhardt Dan Murphy’s doesn’t steal too much of Amatos’ trade. That would be unfair and unjust. But there’s no doubt that is what the brains trust at Woolworths is trying to do. Open up a new shop as close as possible to an existing shop, steal their trade and try your hardest to close them down. It’s the way they operate.
Don’t get me wrong. Dan Murphy’s shops are very good; some excellent. But they don’t play fair, and the licensing authorities let them get away with it.