LIBERTY, MO – It has only been one day after Liberty voters agreed to beef up the town’s existing smoking ban and already there are two big questions: will it drive smoking customers away, and how long will it be before smokers have no where to go?
Tuesday’s vote is a very big deal for two Liberty establishments. One is a bar and the other is a bowling alley, but one of the business may be more hurt by the ban than the other.
Liberty’s Corner Bar was exempt under Liberty’s first smoking ban but that all changes now as the corner bar will also go smoke free on November 23. However, Tuesday’s vote still has those who work at the bar confident that things won’t change all that much.
“I think it would have been different if it didn’t affect everyone across the board, where there was one place that was cheap cigarettes and the rest were not. I was a little afraid of that, because there might be a monopoly where everybody goes where they can smoke. But since it affects everyone evenly I think we’ll be able to deal,” said employee Megan Garrison.
But that’s not the case for the Liberty Retro Bowl where up to 40% of their regular league bowlers are smokers, and this ban may lead them to try the lanes in nearby Grandview, Blue Springs, and Kearney, where there are no smoking bans.
“I wish everybody would get together and understand that if you want to do something like this, and you’re that driven, then do it on a statewide basis. Do it so that it’s fair,” said Bob Stambersky, Retro Bowl owner.
Greg Quinn of Blue Springs Bowl doesn’t agree with city enforced smoking bans, but he does agree that he’ll likely see more business because of it. Quinn said he gained new customers after a similar ban was imposed by the city of Independence.
“We noticed the open play, it picked up quite a bit for open bowlers that come in. First thing when they came through the door, they asked, can you smoke in here?” said Greg Quinn.
Quinn said that extra business could be short lived because he thinks soon enough his business will be in the anti-smoking crosshairs.
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