Beer permit denied because of too many alcohol stores in area

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - The Alcoholic Beverage Control board voted unanimously to deny a beer permit to a food store attempting to open off Roosevelt Road and Arch Street.

After months of taking their protests to City Hall, neighbors in the area were at the ABC offices Wednesday morning when the board voted to deny the permit to businessman Mark Carter's operation at 2501 South Arch Street.

The Carter Food Store has already been granted a conditional use permit by the city to operate as grocery store; however, they cannot sell beer and wine without the ABC permit.

Neighbors argue that their area is overrun with liquor stores already and adding a store that sells beer will compound the problem.

"Prostitutes, drug addicts, they go to those places," said Annie Abrams, protesting the sale of beer and wine.

But the people trying to open there say it's a food store first.

"What we're talking about here is not a liquor store we're talking about a 300-square-foot beer cooler so their grocery store can be competitive," said an attorney representing Carter's business.

They asked the ABC for a beer permit today and got zero help.

The board said it was all about location since there are seven places to find alcohol there within just three blocks.

"In another area I'd certainly be for it," said Ron Fuller with the ABC, "but it's the area for me."

Some in attendance brought evidence to support their concerns.

"The map that I brought today showed that there was simply a river of alcohol moving along Roosevelt Road," said Kathy Wells.

Neighbors like Wells say they're now waged in battle to keep new alcohol stores away from communities already saturated with them.

"Today the citizens won one," said Wells.