By Betsy Finklea
Sunday alcohol sales were discussed at the City of Dillon’s February council meeting.
Dillon City Manager Glen Wagner said as he sits back, looks, and reads as to what is going on around us, he realizes that we are the only county in the Pee Dee that does not have Sunday alcohol sales.
Wagner said he will be the first to say as his daddy used to say that just because somebody else does it, doesn’t mean that you have to do it; however, Wagner said he also believes that without Sunday alcohol sales, they are not going to recruit restaurants or hotels and maybe some retailers.
Wagner said we have no restaurant per se downtown other than King’s. He said King’s sells alcohol Monday through Saturday. He doesn’t know if they would be interested in selling on Sunday.
He said they have a restaurant that is opening hopefully in the next 3-4 weeks that plans to sell alcohol. He said he imagines that they would like to do it on Sunday as well.
There is another restaurant possibly starting construction in the next six months. He said he imagines they would like to sell alcohol.
Wagner noted that Kintyre House may want to come back if there are those opportunities.
It is not just downtown, Wagner said. He said there are other areas in the city that can attract restaurants such as Highway 34, Radford Boulevard, and Highway 301.
Wagner said he was told that “Del Sol loses a lot of business on Sunday because of alcohol sales.”
“I think we’re missing the boat by not doing something or trying to do something to make that happen,” Wagner said.
He said Marion County, Marlboro County, Florence County, Darlington County, and Lumberton all have Sunday alcohol sales.
“It’s okay if we don’t want to do it, but we don’t need to sit here and say why can’t we get something because that may be a reason.” Wagner said.” There may be others, but that may be a reason as well.”
Wagner said if the council would like him to do so, he would like to come back next month with an ordinance to present.
The ordinance would be requesting that the issue be put on the ballot in November in the general election because the public has to vote on this. In this case, only the registered voters of the City of Dillon can vote.
The ordinance would have to pass two readings by the Dillon City Council and go before the justice department before it can get on the referendum. If it is approved by the justice department, then it is turned over to the county election commissions to place the referendum on the ballot. The city has to pay whatever the costs are to place the referendum on the ballot. This has to be done by summer to give it time to be placed on the ballot in November.
If it passes, then it goes to the Department of Revenue to get the permits to do it.
This can be done within the city limits without it being passed in the county and without the county being involved.
This would be for alcohol sales for on-site premises (such as restaurants) and off site premises (such as convenience stores and grocery stores).
Wagner said he thinks this will provide an avenue for possibly attracting a hotel. He said some people want that, and whether you drink the spirits or not, it is everyone’s individual choice.
Wagner said that he thought they needed to move forward, and let the public decide in November.
In the citizen’s report, Stephanie Mitchell of Gigi’s and Doc’s, said she was totally in favor of anything to move this town forward. That is like my motto-move this town forward, Mitchell said. Mitchell said if we do not get this new alcohol ordinance in place, we will be behind, and our town will suffer in many ways by just not having the alcohol.
Mitchell said when someone goes somewhere on Sunday because they want to drink and eat, they also shop, go to a movie, and do other things. She said that was “a lot of money we’re losing here.”
Mitchell said what they will see if they get this in place is more stores staying open. She said she owns two businesses, and she would be dumb to open one business and not the other. She said she was not going to have customers eat with her and then walk by her other business, and it be closed.
Mitchell said that once this is in place they would see more commerce. She said that like the city manager said not everyone has to partake. If people want to partake they can, and if they don’t, they don’t have to partake. She said it was going to be “good, good for the county all around.
By Betsy Finklea