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Online grocery sales

Metcalfe’s Market at the Hilldale Shopping Center has been offering the service since 2001 but many other Madison area grocery stores are or will soon be offering the service. Under a recommended ordinance, retailers offering online shopping would need to expand its licensed premises if they want to include alcohol sales.

Responding to a nationwide trend of grocery stories offering online ordering, Madison’s alcohol licensing committee recommended a new ordinance Wednesday allowing curbside pick-up of alcohol.

Under the ordinance, retailers that want to include alcohol in their “click and collect” service — when customers preselect items online that are then delivered to their vehicle at the store — would need to expand their licensed premises to include a designated area outside the store where customers can pick up their online order.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the ordinance includes precautions to prevent customers younger than the legal drinking age from buying alcohol either directly or through a third party and to make sure customers who are intoxicated are refused a “click and collect” order.

“We tried to provide as many additional safeguards in this ordinance,” Verveer said.

Payment for the purchase must be completed on the premises after the buyer has presented a valid photo ID verified by a licensed operator employed by the establishment.

Additionally, orders could only be picked up between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., there would be a four-hour waiting period between the sale and pick-up and orders placed after 2 p.m. would not be able to be picked up until the following day.

Establishments must also record the image of the vehicle the order is loaded into, the license plate number, customer’s name and date of birth, and the ID’s number and expiration date.

Representatives from Roundy’s Supermarkets and Wal-Mart, who were applying for the “click and collect” license provision, explained that typically when customers order and pay online, holds are placed on their credit cards.

Once they show up for the items in the designated parking spot, a store employee verifies IDs before lifting the credit card hold. Customers never leave the vehicle.

“The concern is this type of thing turning into a drive-through,” Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.

Mayoral spokeswoman Katie Crawley said Mayor Paul Soglin did not take issue with the ordinance as long as the customer completes the purchase inside.

“He does not support drive-up options at liquor stores,” Crawley said.

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However, Verveer said the process requires more detail than “ordering a burger in a drive-through window.”

“With the four hour waiting period that the ordinance requires, it seems unlikely anybody that’s interested in a quick fix, if you will, of alcohol would take advantage of this,” Verveer said.

The Alcohol License Review Committee also approved allowing curbside pickup for alcohol at the Wal-Mart on Nakoosa Trail and the Pick ‘n’ Save, owned by Roundy’s, on Junction Road.

Roundy’s Supermarkets spokesman James Hyland said in a statement that providing customers the option to order alcohol and have a curbside pickup option adds value to their digital services.

“Customer digital engagement is now a firmly rooted strategy for retailers, a strategy that will continue to grow and enhance the customer shopping experience,” Hyland said.  

The Madison City Council will need to grant final approval of the ordinance and licenses.

Also at the meeting, the committee approved licenses for the jazz club Cafe CODA that is moving into 1222 Williamson St.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.