Four local business owners are now moving forward with plans to open liquor stores in Statesboro. Each submitted an application to reserve their location following City Council’s unanimous decision to allow such sales within city limits effective April 1.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Statesboro City Council, all four applications were presented for public hearing along with input from both Mayor and Council. While two of the applications garnered only positive feedback, two business owners faced proximity conflicts which were ultimately resolved by Council vote.

Watch full meeting VIDEO here:

With the ordinance amendment approved back in March, City Council opted to require a minimum distance of 1,000 yards between proposed liquor store sites — double the state requirement. City staff is tasked with reviewing all applications, a process which includes criminal background checks, and submitting their recommendations. Feedback from the City’s Planning and Development staff, Statesboro Fire and Police Departments, and the City’s legal team is also considered during this review. City Council has the final say as to which business is granted the location.

Clark Beverages – 607 Brannen Street

Clark Beverages

Among the first applicants to request location reservation, Stephen Bradley Clark of Statesboro hopes to open “Clark Beverages” at 607 Brannen Street. Addressing Mayor and Council on Tuesday, Clark said he plans to run “a nice, clean business.” The proposed location is owned by Tracy Ham and Tracy Waters of TNT Enterprises, Inc. of Statesboro.

After brief discussion, a motion to approve the application passed unanimously. Following the vote, Mayor Jonathan McCollar quipped, “You just made history,” referencing the fact that Clark’s application is the first of its kind to come before Council.

S’Boro Liquors – 860 Buckhead Drive

S’Boro Liquors

FTJ Enterprises, LLC, submitted an application for location reservation under the trade name “S’Boro Liquors“. The proposed site is situated at 860 Buckhead Drive and is owned by DeLoach Properties, LLC, of Seminole, Florida.

Robert Baughn introduced himself to Mayor and Council as the owner of the business. After receiving clarification on the site’s exact location, Council voted unanimously to approve the application, making Baughn’s the second approval granted during Tuesday’s meeting.

L/C Package Store – 2823 Northside Drive West

L/C Package Store

MSO Water Systems owner Lindsay Martin requested to reserve 2823 Northside Drive West with plans to open “L/C Package Store”. The site, owned by Martin, currently operates as South Georgia Gun and Title Pawn.

While Martin was present at Tuesday’s meeting, he was represented by attorney Chris Gohagan of Taulbee, Rushing, Snipes, Marsh & Hodgin. Gohagan spoke to Martin’s prolific history of business ownership and commercial development in Statesboro, as well as his record of compliance with other City licensing policies. Martin is a former City of Statesboro employee and founding board member of the Statesboro Police Officers Foundation.

Following Gohagan’s remarks, another local attorney — Andrew Lavoie of Bruce, Mathews & Lavoie — spoke on behalf of Corn Needs Waters, LLC, and registered agent Hillary Joyner. Lavoie requested that his clients’ application be considered along with Martin’s as the two proposed locations are within 1,000 yards of one another. However, according to City Manager Charles Penny, the latter entity’s application was only fully submitted on April 18 and has not undergone staff review.

Following extensive discussion McCollar said, “We have two outstanding business members within our community that [have] interest in this, but… the application [from Joyner] was completed yesterday… and the application has not been reviewed. This is not a conflict because the application is not complete.” With this, a motion to approve Martin’s application passed unanimously.

Blue Mile Wine & Spirits – 12 Brannen Street

Blue Mile Wine & Spirits, LLC

Kaleo Lyles, Clyde Chapman, William Birdwell, and Prashant Patel of Blue Mile Wine & Spirits, LLC, applied to reserve 12 Brannen Street with the intent of opening a liquor store with the same name. Gohagan took to the podium once more to represent the business owners. He shared artist renderings (seen below) of the extensive renovations planned for the former Midtown Statesboro building, which is located within the Blue Mile business district. The property is owned by Charles Tsang of Statesboro.

Mayor and Council also heard from Jeffrey Johnson, assistant manager of Two Guys Beverage — a currently-operating business at 520 Fair Road, Suite 410 (College Plaza). The store’s owners, 3 Brothers 2021, LLC, also submitted an application but fall within 1,000 yards of 12 Brannen Street.

Two Guys located in College Plaza Credit: Grice Connect

After hearing arguments from both entities, Council initially struggled to reach a consensus on which business should be granted the reservation. “Both… are viable locations for operating [ liquor ] stores,” Penny said. “Both applicants have met the requirements to be awarded a license reservation.” He went on to recommend approving Blue Mile Wine & Spirits’ application based on several factors including location, potential traffic impact, and the proposed redevelopment of a vacant property. Councilmembers eventually called for a vote and followed Penny’s recommendation unanimously.

Applications still being accepted

The City is still accepting applications for liquor store location reservations. At this time, there is no timeline for when licenses will be granted. All applications are subject to standard review procedures as outlined in the Code of Ordinances.

There are 15 total applications in process, including the ones mentioned in this story. The next round of applications will be presented to Mayor and Council at their meeting on May 3.

A copy of the application can be downloaded by clicking here or by visiting the City’s website: https://www.statesboroga.gov/departments/city-clerk/tax-and-license-office

Bobby NeSmith

Bobby NeSmith is a Bulloch County native who enjoys connecting with our community. He first discovered his love for media at Portal High School and is known for his thoughtful and engaging contributions...