NOT NOW...MAYBE LATER
THE HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS blueridgenow REPORTS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...
The liquor market in Henderson County is saturated right now, a consultant told the Henderson County ABC Board Wednesday, and likely can’t support a sixth county package store for several years.
However, consultants from Martin-McGill told ABC board members that future population growth could merit placing a county-run liquor store in Etowah or the Mountain Home area in three to five years.
“At this point in time, I don’t think there’s any question that from a statistical standpoint and from a convenience aspect, there are sufficient outlets in (or near) Henderson County,” said consultant Dennie Martin. “Three to five years from now, there will probably be sufficient market for another outlet.”
Board members, who earlier indicated they would likely disband if the study found no unmet need for another ABC store, took no action after hearing the results of the $9,000 report they commissioned in April.
They wanted to hear first from County Attorney Russ Burrell about the legality of them meeting quarterly or yearly. Martin urged them to retain their jurisdiction, since the demand for a new county liquor store could arise in a few years.
Martin said the addition of three ABC stores in the past three years - in Pisgah Forest, Arden and Hendersonville’s Upward Road location - have altered the equation for Henderson County’s new board, which formed after voters approved a referendum last spring allowing liquor sales in unincorporated areas.
“A lot can change,” agreed Chairman Beau Waddell. “The store in Pisgah Forest, for example, just opened. I’m sure it’s a lease. Where it is, it’s got to be at least five years. Five years from now… they could at any time say, ‘We can’t make a go of it,’ and all of a sudden that takes a big (competitor) out of the way.”
But board member George Erwin Jr. said he had a “problem going to meetings just to have meetings,” and thought without a new store to pursue, the ABC board was just “spinning our wheels.”
“I think there’s no sense in moving forward when we can’t do anything,” he said, adding that county leaders should re-examine the market in a few years using the feasibility study as a base. “You’ve given us a vast amount of information for future leaders of this community to move forward. But right now, the needs are being met in this community throughout Henderson County.”