Case made for fifth Carbondale liquor store
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” The would-be proprietor of a new liquor store in Carbondale will have to wait two weeks to find out if he’ll be allowed to open what would be the town’s fifth retail liquor outlet.
Tom Yerke, a recent retiree from California who is relocating to the Roaring Fork Valley and has family here, made his case Tuesday night before the Carbondale Board of Trustees sitting as the town’s liquor licensing authority. The board continued the matter until May 12, when it expects to make a decision.
Pop’s Liquors would take over the space in the Cowen Center convenience store/gas station near the intersection of Highways 82 and 133 that was formerly occupied by the Carbondale Vineyard Co. for many years.
The previous business closed last fall for lack of an immediate buyer. That forced Yerke to seek a brand new retail liquor license instead of a transfer of ownership.
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“I don’t look at this as opening a brand new business, because there has been a liquor store in that location for 17 years,” Yerke said at the hearing.
However, last month the town approved a new retail liquor license for the Wine Time/Beer Cave liquor store to open in the Red Rock Plaza. Co-owner Sigrid Pieper indicated at Tuesday’s hearing that the store could open this week.
With the addition of Pop’s Liquors, Carbondale would have five full-service liquor stores within town limits. The others are Sopris Liquors, Main Street Spirits and the Crystal River Liquor Mart.
Town Attorney Mark Hamilton pointed out that, per state liquor laws, when considering a new retail liquor license the town is required to make a determination whether the needs of the “neighborhood,” in this case the entire town, are adequately served by the existing liquor stores.
The owners of the other stores and their attorney said those needs are served and will be further with the opening of Wine time. The new license request should be denied, they said.
“The newest outlet has not yet opened, so you really can’t determine if the needs are met until they do open,” attorney Larry Green said on behalf of the other liquor store owners.
Crystal River Liquors owner Dave Weber pointed out that a fifth liquor store would give Carbondale one liquor store per 1,273 residents. The state per capita average is roughly one store per 3,000 people, he said.
Several citizens who attended the hearing argued, however, that the free market should determine if Carbondale can support five liquor stores. And the convenience of the Cowen Center location is also beneficial to visitors staying in the nearby Days Inn and Comfort Inn and Suites hotels, they said.
Petitions in support of the new store containing more than 50 signatures were also submitted.
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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