Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Some residents who live near a convenience store across from Alston Middle School are petitioning to prevent the store from selling beer and wine.
The convenience store is called Mia Quickstop – formerly known as L & M. The store recently reopened under new management that is currently trying to obtain a license to sell beer and wine.
Concerned citizens from surrounding neighborhoods are on a quest to obtain 250 signatures to prevent the store from selling alcohol. An emergency meeting was organized on June 2 at the Community Resource Center, during which Center founder Lewis Smith held a discussion about what kind of image the convenience store brings to middle-schoolers.
Ten people attended the meeting. Many expressed concerns that students will find ways to skip school, head to Mia Quickstop and find a way to obtain beer and wine.
“The reasons we are protesting is its close proximity to the school,” Smith said. “Something about that does not sit right.”
But another neighborhood group, the District 1 Civic Association, held a meeting June 5 to meet with the new owner of Mia’s Quick Stop.
Town Councilman Aaron Brown said after the presentation the general consensus was Mia Quickstop is a legitimate business.
Dexcter Mack, president of the Civic Association, said based off the owner’s track record and how he manages multiple convenience stores in the area, it appears Mia Quickstop deserves a chance to sell beer and wine.
The positions of the two groups represent a role reversal from three years ago.
In 2011, Summerville shut down L&M, with police alleging the store was really an illegal pool hall that was allowing drinking on site -- something it wasn’t licensed to do.
At the time, Mack and the Civic Association backed the police department, and Smith helped organize neighbors to speak up on behalf of L&M.
Now, Smith is happy with the response the petitioning process has gotten so far – as of June 5 his group had 100 signatures against a beer-and-wine license, many of which were obtained by going door-to-door.
Smith and other meeting attendees said they want to know why local politicians are not getting involved in making sure students stay away from alcohol. “We have too many other issues in our community to address,” Smith said. “Why should we have to fight hard to keep alcohol away from schools?”
Mack was also pleased with his group’s meeting with the store owner. “The meeting was very productive,” Mack said. “Some people might not be for it but then there are others who will think it’s going to be beneficial to the community.”
Mack added the convenience store is not the only place selling alcohol near the school; at least two gas stations are located on the same road and Piggly Wiggly is within a mile of the school.
“The owner has other stores so it’s a proven track record that he has no problems, so I welcome him full-heartedly,” Mack said. “I feel we should give him a chance.”