On Monday, Duxbury selectmen held a public hearing on the application of Square Corp., owner of The Hall’s Corner Store, for an all-alcohol liquor license. This license allows the sale of beer, wine and alcoholic spirits.
Hall’s Corner Store owners Das, Victoria and Jay Patel have operated a convenience store in that location for eleven years, according to their attorney Phillip Markella. He said their proposal is to maintain the “convenience store theme” but to sell alcohol as well.
“It’s not going to be a full blown conversion to a liquor store,” said Markella. “It’s going to have the staples, like a convenience store has the staples.”
Markella said the store operators have experience in selling alcohol. Victoria Patel operates Main Street Deli and Market in Hingham, which offers alcohol for sale. According to Markella, the plan is to display the alcohol in the center aisle of the store and to use the coolers in the rear for refrigerating beer, etc. The store would continue to offer convenience and grocery items, as well as the Lottery and Keno.
Selectmen voted to continue the public hearing on the liquor license after interim Town Manager Richard MacDonald requested the extension.
“I ask the Board of Selectmen not to make a decision on this tonight,” said MacDonald. “There’s some more information I want to get to you before the board makes a decision.”
Joe Carroll is the owner of Duxbury Wine and Spirits, which is also located in Hall’s Corner. He voiced objection to having another liquor store in the area, because there are currently five liquor license holders in Hall’s Corner: Duxbury Wine and Spirits, Casey’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Tsang’s Café, the Wildflower Café and Foodies.
Carroll wondered if the town even had an all alcohol license to offer the Hall’s Corner Store because he thought there was not another available. Liquor licenses are granted to communities by the state based on population. Carroll also asked if the town really needed a fourth place selling liquor in Hall’s Corner.
“There’s no demonstrable need for that license to be issued,” said Carroll.
As the town board that issues liquor licenses, selectmen must balance the public need for more alcohol vendors against “the common good.” They must also decide whether enough alcohol sellers adequately serve an area.
This is the second time that owners of this convenience store have applied for a liquor license.
In 1998, selectmen denied a beer and wine liquor license to Hall’s Corner Store owner Janet Eaton. At the time, selectmen said another liquor license did not serve the public good because there were two existing package stores in Hall’s Corner and two restaurants in the area selling alcohol.
Selectmen also said the state gives towns discretion in granting licenses and that the town does not have to fulfill its quota of available licenses.
In 2007, when Foodies first applied to the town for a beer and wine liquor license, selectmen denied the liquor license. Selectmen approved Foodies’ liquor license two months later because they felt it was important to keep a grocery store in the center of town and because Foodies’ lease was rewritten to be contingent upon the store selling alcohol.
In 2007, former Selectmen Chairman Andre Martecchini said this about adding another package store in Hall’s Corner: “In 1998, I didn’t see the public good for a small convenience store to sell alcohol and then Exxon said that if we granted one to Hall’s Corner Store then they would request one too. It (would have) had a domino effect.”
The public hearing on the liquor license for the Hall’s Corner Store will be continued to Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the town hall.