Princeton's first liquor store almost open

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PRINCETON, Ky. - People in Princeton, Kentucky who wanted alcohol had to go as far as Paducah, Hopkinsville, or Dawson Springs.  That's a 13 to 50 mile drive.

But that changes Tuesday.

Princeton has a population of 63-hundred people.

That makes it a 4th class city, meaning there were two packaged liquor licenses up for grabs and an unlimited number of liquor-by-the-drink licenses.  While no one has spoken for the liquor by the drink licenses, the packaged liquor licenses are spoken for, and one store opens its doors Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.

"You just think you come in and throw everything up, but it's a big sequence of events that has to occur to get where you need to be to open your doors up," Melissa Fitzgerald and her Wildcat Liquor employees learned this the hard way.  While they're happy to offer a wide variety, inventory software glitches keep delaying the store's opening.

Fitzgerald planned on opening Monday morning, but it didn't happen.

She turned several would-be customers away, people like Earl Cansler.

"I was interested in what was going on, see what was happening here," Cansler said.

Before the doors open, Fitzgerald said everything must be set.

Security is tight. Every door has a different tone, every window protected, motion detectors are throughout the store and cameras cover every corner.

For now, Wildcat is Princeton's only packaged liquor store, but competition is on the way. The owner of A & A Liquor Store said his store, in front of the Super Walmart should be open by mid summer.

Fitzgerald said there's enough business to go around, she's just glad to be the first.

"We feel like we're making part of history having the first store.  Wildcat Liquors is at the former Fieldhouse restaurant in Princeton, just off the parkway on Exit 12.

The second liquor store, A & A liquors is under construction in front of the WalMart Supercenter on U.S. 62.

The Princeton Alcohol Beverage Control officer said some local people have been asking questions, but nothing's set in stone and no well-known national franchises have expressed interest in Princeton.

Fitzgerald said customers in Princeton will pay a 6 percent local alcohol sales tax.

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