A retail liquor store trade group has filed suit to prevent Costco from opening a retail liquor store adjacent to the wholesale club store that will open July 21 on Chenal Parkway.

The suit replays arguments raised by United Beverage Retailers of Arkansas before the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board when it reversed a denial by ABC Director Doralee Chandler and unanimously approved a permit.


Costco already has a beer and wine permit for its wholesale club. The liquor store would be operated separately, with a separate entrance and sell a limited selection of distilled spirits, not beer and wine.

The retailers have two main complaints: One is that state law prevents liquor stores from operating in conjunction with businesses that sell other goods. That issue would seemingly have been settled by the approval of a liquor permit for Sam’s Club in Fayetteville along lines similar to those proposed in Little Rock.


But the retailers also cite a state law that prevents the transfer of an existing permit — as Costco plans to do — in a city with more liquor stores than one for every 7,500 residents. Little Rock, with 56 permits, is well over a limit of 26 that would be dictated by that law, the suit argues.

The suit seeks a preliminary injunction against opening the business. The case was assigned to Judge Alice Gray. No hearing has been set.


Here’s the lawsuit.