Optimism is the watchword in Somerset’s efforts to increase opportunities for liquor store licenses, based on the mayor’s comments Monday.
Mayor Eddie Girdler told the Commonwealth Journal that he “think(s) there will be some very positive results between us and the ABC,” referring to the Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
That’s after the City of Somerset filed a complaint with Pulaski Circuit Court last week claiming that the state agency acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner in choosing which of 17 applicants would receive the five “quota” Retail Liquor Package licenses that would allow them to sell distilled spirits and wine in a store setting, and “in conflict with the City’s rights” under the Kentucky Constitution.
Girdler also sent the Kentucky ABC a letter requesting that they simply work out a deal to grant Somerset more than five possible package liquor licenses, so that bigger retailers can move into town. The city’s goal is to solve their dilemma that way, but is prepared to take legal action if needed.
Girdler wouldn’t divulge exactly why he’s feeling positive about the direction things are taking, but added, “So far, I think the state ABC and the city will be able to hopefully accommodate each other in the future.”
High-volume retailer Liquor World, with stores in Richmond and Manchester, was prepared to make a $5 million investment in the North Plaza shopping center, even trying to bring in a national chain restaurant. Girdler was eager to bring that type of economic influx Somerset’s way, and was disappointed when the state passed over Liquor World to grant licenses to two national drug store chains — Rite-Aid and Walgreens — and three local entrepreneurs seeking to open Apple’s Wine and Spirits, and First Stop Party Supply and Package Store, and Wildcat Beer, Wine, and Spirits.