Town Wharf General Store will start selling wine, beer

Jul 12, 2017

The Town Wharf General Store will soon be selling wine and beer.

The Board of Selectmen approved store owner Chris Demakis’ request for a wine and malt beverage package store license at Tuesday night’s meeting.

However, Demakis was quick to insist the store wasn’t going to become a full-fledged package store.

“We’re not going to do that,” he said. “We just want to offer a small selection of wine and beer.”

The decision did not come without its detractors, however, with a few neighbors speaking up against the license request.

“There are places for package stores and places for gift shops, the two shouldn’t mix,” resident Randy Smith said. “It doesn’t belong in the village.”

Neighbors George and Maureen Butler also submitted a letter against the request, stating that the area is already congested and package stores should stay on Route 6.

“Package stores are allowed in a business zone for a reason,” the letter said. “We feel additional delivery trucks will add a burden. Also, with the addition of beer and wine sale, it will take away from the family friendly atmosphere…We strongly oppose the granting of this license.”

However, Andrea Perry from The Inn at Shipyard Park said there won’t be any difference in traffic.

“Delivery trucks already come to The Inn,” she said. “It’ll be no different.”

A few neighbors asked if the sale of alcohol was allowed in the residential zone the store is located in. However, Town Administrator Mike Gagne said he had a long conversation with town officials about the zoning, and that’s not an issue.

“The premise is the store is a retail establishment, so when I asked if they could add to what they sell, the building commissioner said it would be within the allowed use,” Gagne said.

Essentially, because the store already has the permitting needed to be a retail store, selling beer and wine would just be expanding the selection of products for sale.

While there were a handful of residents at the public hearing to oppose the license, Demakis also had a number of supporters as well.

“I’m looking forward to this, I’m excited about it,” Betty Hill said. “I think they have great taste and I love the store.”

Also in support was Peter Mello, who said as a father he had no issue with the store selling alcohol.

“We’re the only parents in the neighborhood, and we support the license,” he said. “From being a parent and a neighbor, we don’t see any issues. We know and trust them, and we’re comfortable with that.”

Ultimately, the two selectmen who were in attendance, Jordan Collyer and Paul Silva, agreed and voted to approve the license.

“I don’t see any reason to deny the applicant,” Silva said. “I believe it’s within the use.”

Collyer agreed, saying it would be better for boaters as well.

“I know for years the boaters said it’d be a lot more convenient if they could get wine or beer locally,” he said. “That street was the commercial hub of our village for a long time. To say that a small business can’t take on a small endeavor goes against every thing the town fathers wanted for the village.”