This past Saturday I toured the Class A & B ABC licensed establishments in the Mount Pleasant commercial corridor. As I outlayed in my previous posting on Mount Pleasant, the neighborhood has had a single sales ban which both the community and ABC businesses have overwhelmingly supported the continuance of.
The commercial district spans roughly 3/10 of a mile along Mount Pleasant Street NW between Irving St NW and Park Rd NW. While the corridor was bustling the mix of businesses suggested the area was certainly not too affluent to be comparable to areas around the Triangle. In addition to the popular Heller’s Bakery, Radius Pizza and Dos Gringos Cafe you’ll find a dollar store, check cashing store, thift shop and multiple laundromats.
On the map above I’ve highlighted the two Class A in red and five B ABC licensed establishments in blue.
- Irving Wine & Liquors
- Sportsman Liquors
- Bodega Los Primos
- Samber Market
- Argyle Convenience Store
- Bestway Supermarket
- Mount Pleasant Deli
Do any businesses sell singles?
None of the liquor or convenience stores sold singles of beer or malt liquor. There are no exceptions negotiated via voluntary agreements. 7-11 has a convenience store on this street but it does not sell any alcohol. I briefly entered into a few of the carryout places like El Pollo Sabroso and did not see single beers for sale in those establishments. Mt Pleasant has clearly stuck to the intent of the law.
What do they sell?
Among the seven convenience and liquor stores I visited the was not much universal overlap in brands being sold. Some, like the Bestway Supermarket, stuck mainly to 6-packs of the staples like Budweiser and Corona. A few of the other stores sold more variety including Magic Hat, Allagash, Abita, Dogfish Head, Hoegarden, Boddington, Brooklyn Pilsner, Shiner Bock, and Kirin Ichiban. For stores that carried Heineken and Guinness the smallest packaging was 4 packs of 14.9 ounce cans priced roughly at $7.99. Only one store carried Steel Reserve (Mt Pleasant Deli) but did so in 6-packs of 12oz cans. I did not see any Sapporo or Chimay for sale. I’m not clear why there was no Sapporo for sale as it is available from distributors in 6-packs.
How did the businesses adapt?
I was fortunate enough to carry on a conversation with one of the store owners. I will leave the name of his business out of the blog posting as I didn’t explain to him I was asking questions to publish anything. But I will share this information with any MVSNA BoD or ANC member who would like to talk to him first hand.
I approached the store owner and shared with him that my Ward had recently passed a Single Sale Moratorium and that ABC licensees around my neighborhood were applying for exemptions. I explained that I was touring Mt Pleasant to learn how the stores adapted and what product mixes they presently carried. I also commented on how I was pleasantly surprised to see that only one store I entered had a security partition. I asked him if he could share some thoughts on how the prohibition on single sales worked for the commercial corridor and his store.
Summarizing his comments: He was afraid to change back in 2000 and initially opposed the idea. He acknowledged that before the ban many of the litter, public drunkenness, public urination and safety issues the proponents of the ban pointed to did plague the neighborhood. He suggested that many of the stores had security partitions back in 2000. He noticed improvements in the neighborhood within the first year. By 2003 he had removed his security partition and in 2005 he completed a remodel. He thinks the ban was instrumental to a revitalization of the corridor but can relate to how change can be scary.
This tour did increase my resolve that the wide and strong Single Sale Moratorium is worth fighting for. The Mt Pleasant success story is very compelling to me. Not only did the Class A & Class B ABC licensed businesses survive without selling singles, they became better stores.