SNOW HILL — A controversial business in Snow Hill is getting a new chance at an alcohol license with new owners.
Residents both supporting and protesting the West Market St. “Your Stop” receiving a beverage license packed the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) meeting last week with tempers between the two groups running high.
Attorney Joe Moore, who represented Your Stop, told the board that the owners have operated the business with no alcohol sales and no problems with police for three years but need to expand their business to stay afloat in the challenging economy. Moore said the current owners have no relation to the drug dealing and underage drinking that plagued the previous iteration of the store.
“They [previous owners] were bad people, and they went to jail for it,” he said.
Many Snow Hill residents, despite Moore’s assurances, worried that the problems were linked to the store’s location no matter the owners.
“We do have a lot of alcoholics in this town,” said resident Mary Chambers. “They stand there in front of this store … my concern is that it’s right next to two schools.”
That common concern was repeated by many in attendance who outlined a story of fear of walking home at night past the store because of the kind of crowd it would attract.
“We’re worried about the shadows of that coming back again,” said Mark Nixon.
But other members of the town, especially in the business community, stood in favor of granting the Your Stop a new beverage license. Gary Weber, who owns three businesses in town, underlined the fact that the next closest beer and wine store to that neighborhood is more than a mile away. With many in that area professing to not owning cars, Weber felt a more than two-mile roundtrip walk to pick up a beer wasn’t right.
“I think it is wrong to deny a certain area of town the ability to buy alcohol in their neighborhood,” he said.
Other residents concurred and Moore presented the board with 35 additional signatures from people who supported the license.
The board agreed after a lengthy deliberation that new owners should mean a new chance and granted the location a Class “A” beer and wine seven-day license. However, in respect to the fears of many in the neighborhood and in cooperation with the owners, the store will not be able to sell alcohol after 8 p.m. and on-site drinking is prohibited and would jeopardize the license.