Marshall County's first packaged liquor store opened its doors, and the county's Alcohol Beverage Control says the county could see seven more packaged liquor stores opening by the end of the year.
The Cellar Door store owners say they received their license 10 days ago, and Wednesday business has been steady. Owners say sales are important, but it's what the money means to the county that's more important.
Cellar Door co-owner Brian Edwards says he wanted to open a business in Marshall County ever since the city passed the alcohol ordinance. "This is a good tourism community that attracts this kind of thing," he says.
Edwards says the liquor business is a hard one to crack into, but it's a business that can help build a community up. The Cellar Door created six new jobs by opening one store. And given good business, Edwards says it will pump even more money into the city's budget.
"It all drives economic development, and that's the goal, because we all need it," Edwards says.
Before any sale, employees are required to be certified or start training to recognize both legal and illegal IDs.
The Benton mayor and the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Administrator, Rita Dotson, says she's kept a close eye on all the alcohol licenses coming into her office. She says it's a new process that needs to be done right the first time.
"There's lots of times we have to call the state and get an answer, because we're real unsure," says Dotson.
Dotson says the revenue from the first sale in the city is money the city needs. "If you can bring more revenue in and take less out of your budget for the police department or any kind of training," she says.
Dotson says in the first two months after the first license started selling, they brought $7,500 in taxes to the city, but that money goes to agencies that help regulate alcohol sales, not the general fund.
The Marshall County ABC Administrator estimates at least 28 more establishments finalizing liquor licenses by the end of the quarter.
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