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Giant and Sheetz continue to buy up expired liquor licensesState announces winning bids for second restaurant license auction

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Regional supermarket and convenience-store chains Giant Foods Stores LLC and Sheetz Inc. continue to stockpile restaurant liquor licenses in Pennsylvania.

The two companies combined to win 25 of 42 expired licenses auctioned off by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The winning bids were announced today, with four awarded in the midstate.

This was the second state auction of expired restaurant licenses since last summer's liquor law changes, known as Act 39, which created the auction process.

Sheetz picked up a total of 17 licenses across the state, while Giant Food Stores added eight. In the first state auction where winners were announced in early November, Sheetz secured 15 licenses; Giant got 11.

Winning bids in this latest auction ranged from $25,001 for a license in Cambria County to $463,802 for a license in Montgomery County. The average winning bid in the second auction was $119,315.

Eight additional licenses available through the auction were not sold, according to the PLCB. Seven licenses in Beaver, Carbon, Franklin, Greene, Mifflin, Pike and Wayne counties received no bids, while a single bid for a license in Northumberland County was disqualified for being under the $25,000 minimum.

Locally, convenience-store chain Turkey Hill LP picked up liquor licenses in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. The company, which also bid the most for licenses in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties, paid $407,600 for the Lancaster County license and $112,500 for the license in Lebanon County.

In York County, Giant Food Stores won the auction with a bid of $291,012. In Dauphin County, a license was awarded to CHR Corp., which does business as Rutter's Farm Stores, for $191,000.

Supermarket chain Weis Markets was the top bidder for a license in Lycoming County.

Here's the full list of top bidders by county.

The auction format tends to favor larger retailers with deep pockets because top bidders have just 14 days from the date of selection to remit the full bid payment to the PLCB.

The high cost of the licenses in many areas also makes it harder for smaller restaurants and retailers to compete.

Once bid payment is received by the PLCB for a license, each auction winner has six months to file an application with the PLCB to use the license.

The PLCB has accumulated about 1,200 expired licenses since 2000 that it will auction off in the coming months and years.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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