03/04/11 An application by Family Express to obtain a permit to sell beer and wine in their convenience store on Jefferson Street in Plymouth has been approved by the Indiana State Commission of Alcohol and Tobacco. On Tuesday, the state board overturned the decision of the Marshall County Alcohol Board.
At this point, the state will forward the decision to approve to the Marshall County Processor. It could take up to fifteen days to complete the final paperwork and issue the permit.
On November 20 of last year, Family Express representatives appeared before the local board; however, by a vote of 3-1, the application was denied. Members Vida Creed, Katie May and Maria Keller were not persuaded that the city needed another outlet for beer and wine sales and all three voted against the permit, while Indiana State Excise Officer Michele Traughber voted in favor of the permit.
Family Express then filed an appeal of the Marshall County decision and was granted an appeal hearing on February 16, 2011.
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.
At the Marshall County hearing, Marshall County resident Cain Shuppert spoke in opposition 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.
Members of the local board were scheduled to meet with Traughber on Tuesday, but Traughber was unavailable. Vida Creed, president of the board said, “Although we have not been officially notified, we are very disappointed with the ruling.”
Family Express CEO and President Gus Olympidis responded to the ruling saying, ““We are pleased that the permit was approved. We are appreciative of the Local Board’s diligence in making sure that the community handles products like alcoholic beverages that are meant for adults only and in a most responsible way, and Family Express shares its interest and passion in doing so.”