Thursday, April 24, 2014
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ABC board chair says county can support another liquor store

The Henderson County ABC Board chairman told county commissioners today that he thinks the county can support one or two new liquor stores and two commissioners urged the local board to move ahead on the idea.

ABC board chairman Beau Waddell updated the Board of Commissioners on the ABC board's work since the county formed it last summer. Henderson County voters in May 2012 to allow beer, wine and liquor sales countywide for the first time, meaning that supermarkets can sell beer and wine, restaurants can serve mixed drinks and the county could, with state permission, operate an ABC store.
"I personally believe Henderson County could support one, maybe two ABC stores, which would increase funding to the county," Waddell said. He cautioned that even if the Board of Commissioners endorsed the idea, a new store is subject to approval by the state ABC Commission.
"I can assure you they will listen intently to the other three ABC boards and their concerns," Waddell said.
ABC boards from Laurel Park, Fletcher and Hendersonville have met with the new county ABC board in separate meetings and all have urged the county not to go into the liquor business. The board members and general managers told the county ABC board members that a sixth store in the county would reduce the sales at one or more of the existing stores.
"They have some definitely have concerns with us being around and we've learned that none of the three have any interest in going with us in any form or fashion," Waddell told the county commissioners. "I don't believe merging with any of the three would be in the best interest of our board at this time."
Hendersonville operates three stores — including a new one on Upward Road at the I-26 interchange — and Fletcher and Laurel Park operate one each.
Waddell's suggestion that the county can support one or two more stores was the first time a county board member had publicly suggested that that might be the direction of the new board.
Two commissioners, Michael Edney and Larry Young, said they supported a county-operated store. Edney thanked Waddell for the work of the ABC board.
"I think it's worthwhile for the community," he said. "I hope you do open a store."