Brogdon’s Grocery asks for help

Published 3:00 pm Friday, September 18, 2009

At Brinson’s Town Council meeting Monday night, Brogdon’s Grocery owners Sylvia Brogdon Jones and her husband, Derrell Jones, brought to the table a proposition to sell alcohol at their store, which is located on the corner of Highway 310 and U.S. 84 West.

“We need the extra income,” Mrs. Jones said. “I’ve checked with stores in the area to see what percentage of their sales are beer, and they said it’s from anywhere between 20 to 40 percent. They said it would make a very big impact on their business if they didn’t sale beer.”

According to Mrs. Jones, they are at the point where all they are doing is paying bills. Last month, they even had to put some of their personal money into the store in order to get by.

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“We’ve done everything we know to increase sales,” Mrs. Jones said. “The only other thing would be to get the beer license.”

In a case like this, the council members must refer to the charter written in 1907 in order to make a decision.

Councilman Stanley Harrell read from the charter to all present at the meeting: “It’s got a large paragraph about prohibiting the sale of alcohol,” he said. “Right underneath it says ‘further enacting section 18: this act shall never be altered, amended or repealed except by unanimous petition of all freeholders residing in the limits of the town.”

According to council, Brogdon’s Grocery should first consider holding a county-wide election regarding a change in the charter. But, if one person votes against the sell of liquor, it’s over. If, by chance, everyone voted for it to be changed, the next step would to be to take it to the legislature, which will be ultimately up to in order to amend the charter. But, according to Town Clerk Sherrie Bowers, the legislature only meets once a year, and, for this year, has already done so.’

After stating their case, the Joneses left, only to return moments later with employees. There are three acres connected with the property of the store; the Joneses propose the idea of turning these three acres into an RV park. But, there is also a problem here: the three acres are located on commercial grounds, which do not allow an RV park to be placed.

“We may even end up closing the store out, turning them into houses, and renting them out,” Mrs. Jones said. “We can’t continue going into the hole every month.”

Harrell said he understood what’s at stake.

“Ya’ll have got a large investment in that store,” he said. “But, basically, I feel like our hands are tied.”

Councilman Joe Belvin assures the Joneses he doesn’t have a problem with them selling alcohol, “but the charter says no.”

The council decided to let town attorney Paul Fryer look over the charter and tell them if anything, other than a city-wide election, can be done to allow Brogdon’s Grocery to sell alcohol. They will also contact Regional Development Commission to find out how these three acres can, if possible, be changed to allow an RV park to be established.

“If there is any way that it can be done, it’s all going to be based on how important that store is to Brinson,” Mrs. Jones said.

In other business, Bowers noted that the eight-tenths increase in kilowatt usage last month seemed to be working for the city.

“The most increase I saw was around 20 dollars—this was for people with high kilowatt usage,” Bowers said.

The last thing council discussed was this year’s town election.

“Due to no opposition, we will not be holding any election this year,” Harrell said.