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Family Express to Appeal Local & State Decision on Alcohol Permit

January 26, 2011

01/27/11 The local Marshall County Alcohol Beverage Board denied an application by Family Express to sell beer and wine in their convenience store location on West Jefferson Street in Plymouth at their November 3rd meeting, the State Alcohol & Tobacco Commission upheld the local decision during their November 16th meeting.  Family Express will have another chance to seek approval for a permit at the state level during an appeal hearing that has been scheduled with the Indiana State Alcohol and Tobacco Commission on February 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Speaking in favor of the application in November of 2010 in Marshall County was Mike Berrier, special project manager for Family Express, and an attorney for the firm. According to Berrier and the attorney, Family Express has been in business for 35 years, has 52 stores and employs 500. Both spoke to the restrictive policies the Family Express Corporation has in place for employees who sell alcohol and tobacco products in their stores.

Family Express does have permits to sell alcoholic products at other locations in the state.

However, the local board was not persuaded that the city needed another outlet for beer and wine sales and motioned 3 to 1 to deny the permit. Members Vida Creed, Katie May, and Maria Keller all voted against the permit, while Indiana State Excise Officer Michelle Traughber voted in favor of the permit.

Although several citizens attended the meeting to remonstrate against the new permit, only two spoke.

Cain Shuppert was one of those opposing the permit. He said, “I see several problems giving every gas station in Plymouth the opportunity and the more outlets there are the more the need for enforcement.” Referring to the decision by Family Express to locate in Plymouth, Shuppert said, “They made a viable business decision to open in Plymouth without an alcohol license.” “Should the public be able to buy beer every 50 feet?” he added.

Tom Langdon, formerly of Pat’s Bar in LaPaz, said there was an adequate supply of liquor outlets and adding Family Express could open the floodgates allowing more convenience stores to seek permits, thus diluting the market.

When the matter was considered by the state commission on November 16, 2010, they voted unanimously to uphold the local board decision and deny the new permit.

Those who spoke in November at the Marshall County meeting will be given an opportunity to express their views at the February hearing.