Commonwealth Journal

News Live

January 24, 2013

Can Somerset, ABC come to terms?


Somerset —

Girdler and Liquor World CEO Wesley Morgan have both mentioned that store’s recent lawsuit against Kentucky ABC regarding the way licenses were distributed in nearby Corbin — where Liquor World was also seeking to open a store and was denied — and how that case may factor into the state’s decision not to grant them a license in Somerset either.
It’s the kind of merchandise volume that Girdler says he’s looking for in asking for additional stores, considering that three of the five awardees offered the least economic impact of all 17 quota license applicants, according to the city’s research.
“We still come back to the same conclusion: that the state did not achieve the greatest economic growth either in dollar investment or number of jobs, or meet any of our community objectives regarding economic growth.,” he added.
“We looked at additional data to see if there was any reason the state ABC might have that we didn’t have (for choosing the license applicants as they did) and we can’t come up with any logical reason for the decision they made.”
Girdler said the city intends to have “everything be done” regarding the legal motions and letters to be sent by early next week. The letter will make a request for the state to consider anywhere from two to four additional liquor package licenses to be granted for Somerset — four being a preferable option based on what Girdler believes Somerset can reasonably support, but “if we have to go less than that,” a couple of larger stores would be the bare minimum.
“(Kentucky ABC) gave Pikeville, which has 8,000 people, 11 quota licenses,” said Girdler. “We’ve got 12,000 people, and they gave us five.”
Moreover, the city’s studies by Bradley indicate that Somerset actually serves a market of 200,000 to 250,000 people when considering the size of the county and the traffic from residents of neighboring counties, like McCreary and Wayne, that utilize Somerset as a commercial hub. When factoring in seasonal tourists — a number that is likely to rise with news that Lake Cumberland is to be raised later this summer — that number could climb as high as 400,000 people, all of whom would potentially be utilizing the town’s liquor retailers. 

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