V&V buys liquor license from rival North Adams retailer
NORTH ADAMS -- Vins et Viandes has reached an agreement to purchase the off-premise liquor license of River Street Package Store, its parent company First Hartford Realty Corp., announced on Tuesday.
"We will be asking for a transfer of the license from his location to ours," said Neil Ellis, president of First Hartford.
The license will take officially change hands in November, according to Ellis.
V&V, currently operating as a beer and wine retailer, asked the City Council to delay its vote on a home rule petition on Tuesday.
The petition seeking a liquor license in North Adams, which V&V put before the council earlier this year, would have gone before the state Legislature if passed by the council on Tuesday. The city is currently at its maximum capacity of four off-premise liquor licenses under state law, and V&V would require state approval to hold a fifth.
Instead, Ellis requested early Tuesday that the council delay its vote. Later in the day, Ellis announced the deal was complete.
"I think this is a very good outcome and resolution," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "It addresses the concerns of the other liquor store owners -- there is value in those licenses. I would applaud Mr. Ellis for working through and negotiating that."
The parameters of the agreement are private, Ellis said. Lora could not be reached on Tuesday.
V&V now expects to fully withdraw its request for the home rule petition from City Council, according to Ellis.
The store is operated under Steeple City Liquors, a subsidiary of First Hartford.
"We're all still digesting it," said Louis Matney Jr., president of Steeple City Liquors, about Tuesday's announcement. Matney said he expects to have the store stocked with liquor in November.
The home rule petition had been heavily debated for months.
The Public Safety Committee, after two meetings and a lengthy debate, voted 2-1 on Aug. 19 to recommend passage of the home rule petition to the full council, which was set to debate the issue on Tuesday.
Draper's Wine and Spirits, West Package and Variety Store, Whitney's Beverage Shop and River Street Package Store currently hold the city's liquor licenses, and their owners opposed the council granting the home rule petition. The future of River Street Package Store was unclear as of late Tuesday.
The stores have come to the Public Safety Committee's meetings to advocate that the state's quota - one liquor license per 5,000 people - be followed. Given the city's population of less than 15,000, its four licenses are already technically one more than the limit.
Representatives for V&V have contended that the store is an economic driver of the city's downtown and deserves an additional license on its own merits.
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