Bars object to package store

An application to change the location of a package liquor license to a building on Shedden Road, which was objected to by local bar owners, was denied by the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman.

At the quarterly meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman Thursday at Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre proprietor of Archie’s Place, Shedden Road, Mr Charles Arch Dixon spoke on behalf of some local bar owners.

They were objecting to an application from Mr. Troy Whittaker to transfer a package liquor licence to the former Mahogany’s building.

Mr. Whittaker said he had run his business, Eastern Avenue Liquors, at Nixon Plaza, Eastern Avenue for three years.

However, it has been closed since December of last year.

He was looking for a new location for a long while and finally found on at Mahogany’s Building, which is just a few hundred feet from where he originally operated from.

When questioned by Chairman of the Board Mitchell Welds as to why he left the previous location, he said it was not by his own choice.

The landlady had asked him to leave.

‘She had expressed concern to me on more than one occasion that she didn’t like people loitering around the building,’ said Mr. Whittaker.

This is what prompted him to hire two security guards, he said.

She then complained about people relieving themselves behind the building and he arranged for a toilet facility to be put in.

‘I tried to work with her but she asked me to leave,’ he said.

Mr. Whittaker added that that at the new premises he would also hire two security guards and there would be a full-time manager for the store. There is ample parking with some 80 spaces behind the building, he noted.

Speaking on behalf of the objectors, Mr. Dixon said that there are three other bars in the small vicinity where he operates his business. He said they don’t feel like another liquor store is needed there. Liquor 4 Less (package liquor store) is already in the area.

He said the customers are simply not there to buy all this liquor. Nobody is in any of the bars, he said. People just sit outside talking.

He commented that the bar owners are against Liquor 4 Less being there.

Mr. Welds told him that they would need to submit a written objection on this.

Mr. Dixon continued saying that he is not supposed to have people drinking outside his bar, and he is trying to keep that under control, but people come into his yard with drink in ‘thank-you’ bags and drink it there under a guinep tree.

‘I let them know you’re not allowed to do that,’ he said.

‘So if another store comes even nearer to us than Liquor 4 Less then it’s complete liquor going around,’ he said.

He said the two liquor stores could get into a type of war situation of who can sell liquor the cheapest and then what would become of the bars, he asked. Bars can’t afford to sell liquor for as cheap as package stores, he said.

‘This is our living. We have nothing else to lean back on. We either sell or we go down,’ he said.

Board member Lynn Bodden-Smatt asked if people actually carry liquor into his bar.

Mr. Dixon said they do; people sneak the miniature liquor bottles in and drink chasers in there.

She urged him to call the Liquor Inspector in future if he sees this.

Speaking about Mr. Whittaker’s application, Mr. Dixon said, ‘I think this is only going to create more of that. His landlord complained about the same thing where he was. I don’t care how much parking he has.’

Mr. Whittaker said a six-foot chain-link fence was to be constructed between his and Mr. Dixon’s properties.

He also gave his word that he would not sell miniatures after hearing what Mr. Dixon had to say.

He said while he operated for three years on Eastern Avenue, his customers were different. They came, bought and left again. ‘We’re not competing for the same customer and we have lots of parking,’ he said.

Mr. Welds asked what about beers that might leave his premises and go under the guinep tree to be consumed.

He said he would tell customers to leave the premises but where they would go after that he could not say.

It would not be a problem on his property, though.

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