Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 2, 2013

Could county go wet too?

Somerset —  

When Somerset leap-frogged Burnside in the race to expand alcoholic beverage sales last year, the retail sales dynamics for mom ’n pop convenience stores and service stations throughout Pulaski County changed almost overnight.
“Our weekend business used to be the busiest time of the week,” said Andy Patel, operator of D&D Shell at Science Hill. “But since Somerset began selling beer and alcoholic beverages, our weekend business has really slowed down. Customers will pass us by on their way to buy beer in Somerset.”
Harold Hampton, owner of Hampton’s Marathon in downtown Burnside, expressed similar sentiments.
“You only make about $1.72 on case of beer, but the ability to sell beer certainly does help drive traffic to a convenience station,” Hampton said.
Now some of these stations have joined the fight to legalize alcoholic beverage sales outside Somerset and into Pulaski County. Spearheading the drive for a countywide local option election is Jess Lockard of Bronston. His petition reads:
“We request and demand a Election be set to legalize the sale of alcohol for a unified Pulaski County has hold.”
The petition, dated Friday, March 22, 2013, has already been signed by 569 persons at D&D, and a similar number at Hampton’s Marathon. Ken Patel, operator of Burnside Shell at the south end of the town also is circulating the petition. However, the document is noticeably absent from Slate Branch and Oak Hill Shell Stations.
Pulaski County Clerk Ralph Troxtell confirmed he had been approached by petitioners and explained that by law they would need 6,500 signatures to call a county local option election. Hampton said he expected the petitions to be circulated until they contained 10,000 signatures to allow for disqualifications.
Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield was out of the office Monday and had not had an opportunity to take a thorough look at the petition.

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