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B&M Foodmart earns ANC support for exemption

At April’s ABL committee and full commission meetings B&M Foodmart (215 New York Ave NW) earned ANC support for a Single Serve Moratorium exemption. The ANC’s conclusion contradicted the MVSNA vote to NOT support the exemption for this Class B licensee. Having been at both the MVSNA and ANC ABL meetings I can say the store owner came with much more evidence of community support to the ANC than she did to the MVSNA.


The ABL committee evaluated the application and the written and oral testimony at a public meeting generating an hour of discussion. The final resolution the ABL crafted and recommended to the full commission was so thorough the applicant’s exemption was supported with minimal debate {7 in support; one absention (Richardson)}.

Below is the resolution:

On Monday, April 6th 2009, the ABL Committee evaluated the application for a single sales exception for B&M Food Store. We heard from the applicant and received letters/testimony in support and opposition of the application. The Committee found:

Special circumstances exist due to:

  1. the establishment’s close proximity to Ward 5 and to Ward 5 liquor stores, which are not subject to the same or similar moratorium; and
  2. the establishment’s lack of Ward 6 competitor liquor stores in the same relative close proximity; and
  3. the establishment’s 30 years as an ongoing business in that location; and
  4. the applicant’s substantial support from the surrounding community; and
  5. that the majority of community comments do not perceive the selling of singles at this store as contributing to loitering, littering, and other behavior the ban is intended to reduce.

Accordingly, the Committee recommends 5-0-0 that ANC 6C support B&M’s request for a single sales exception to sell single beers, so long as:

  1. the exception is granted with the explicit condition that if the special circumstances cease (i.e. if Ward 5 enacts a similar moratorium) the exception shall be revoked and all Ward 6 moratorium restrictions shall resume; and
  2. the exception shall be granted for a one-year period, upon which time the ANC shall re-evaluate; and
  3. that a Voluntary Agreement shall be required that establishes the parameters of this recommendation; and
  4. that the Commission encourages the applicant to explore micro grants, such as those offered by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, to make interior improvements to the store (for example, limiting the plexiglass security to the cashier area only) to help expand its ability to compete with other stores.

I am not particularly pleased with the outcome but I can live with it because the conditions afford the exemption to be revoked if the special Ward 5 circumstances change. Greater participation of those in opposition would have been needed to counter the community support the owner provided in her packet – which included a petition with 217 signatures.

Ed note: I will say, I’m not sure all the applicant’s supporters even understood what was at stake, as two that delivered testimony in person at the ABL meeting asked for the committee to “please not take the store’s license away”…

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B&M Foodmart seeks Single Serve Exemption

B&M Foodmart (215 New York Ave NW) has begun the process to seek an exemption to the Single Serve Moratorium. The Class B licensed establishment is slated to go before both the ANC6C ABL committee and full commission in April. Last night owner Brenda Keys spoke before the MVSNA to seek a community endorsement of her exemption request.

My recap of the MVSNA discussion is below using both my notes and Jeff Parke’s meeting minutes as source material.

Given the floor to state her case Brenda offered the following:

  • Owned the store for 30 years
  • Never had a complaint from the police department or 911 Call
  • Referred to self as the mother, social worker, minister of the neighborhood
  • Claimed that customers don’t loiter in front of the store.
  • Stated that she has sold singles since originally opening and there has never been a problem.
  • Claimed that single sales are critical to her stores survival

The community pressed for more specifics and learned the following:
B&M Foodstore relies on alcohol sales for 40% of their revenue with nearly all of that (35%) business coming from single sales. Brands sold include both midscale beers and low end malt liquors (Owner cited Heineken, Corona, Budweiser, Olde English, Steel Reserve, Milwaukee’s Best, etc..). B&M’s lowest price point for single sales is $1.65.

I also brought up the point that B&M Food Store has an unconventional setup. The entirety of the store is behind a security partition except a small foyer. Customers are not buzzed into the store. Rather the customer must tell the cashier what they would like to buy so that it may be retrieved for them. Keys explained that the store has this setup because she was robbed at gunpoint 10 years ago. While I absolutely concede that personal safety is paramount, I believe the store’s layout may be limiting its viability every bit as much as competition from Safeway or the single sales ban. Shoppers prefer an experience that empowers them to browse the inventory of products and prices unencumbered to make their selection. B&M should consider reorganizing its layout so that only the cashier’s counter is behind a security partition. A lesson from the ongoing eight year singles moratorium in Mt Pleasant is that the ban will force businesses to adapt product inventory and their customer experience rather than cling to the inertia of old business models.

After the questions for Brenda the MVSNA membership delved more into their thoughts on the ban as a whole. Some back and forth on whether the ban is “fair” to small businesses transpired. One board member suggested that the effectiveness of the ban would be undermined if exemptions were extended to the majority of liquor and convenience stores.

The Membership voted to oppose endorsement of the exemption for B&M Food Market. The voting on the resolution to NOT support exemption yielded 8 in favor, 3 in opposition and 4 abstentions. Ultimately ANC 6C will make the one endorsement that carries great weight and B&M will have an opportunity to state their case at their ABRA hearing in April.

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Recap of ANC 6C Licensing committee meeting

Tuesday night I attended the ANC 6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meeting. The committee offers a forum of public discussion of ABC licensing issues including testimony by licensees and residents. The committee will then present their recommendations to the ANC 6C full commission which will ultimately cast the deciding votes. Below is my quick recap of the March meeting.

Cedar Restaurant
Cedar Restaurant (822 E St NW) was applying for a class CR liquor license. The business owner spent several minutes describing his business plan for attendees. The restaurant intends to focus on quality food at midscale prices rather than compete on the same level with destination dining establishments like Cafe Atlantico. The licensing committee was most interested in the proposed hours of operation for the establishment and the patio area. Presently the applicant is requesting 1:30am on weekdays, 2:30 on weekends and 11pm for the patio. Committee passed a motion (4-0) in favor of the liquor license provided Cedar finalizes a voluntary agreement with the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

H Street Liquors
Class A licensee H Street Liquors (303 H Street NE) went before the committee to request a single sales exemption for both beer and half pint liquor. The applicant’s lawyer outlined a case for an exemption focused on preserving consumer choice and the applicant’s track record of keeping the immediate area around his store clean and well lit. The floor was then given to seven residents to share testimony. All opposed the exemption and provided account of the impact of single sales on the neighborhood. Panhandlers from Union Station constantly travel to this liquor store to buy singles and plague the neighborhood with loitering, litter, and public urination. Residents have seen improvement in these quality of life issues in the 3 weeks since the ban went into effect and urged committee to deny the exemption. Chair person Anne Phelps stated that she received 19 letters in opposition and none in support. The committee voted passed a motion (4-0) to oppose the exemption request.

Schneider’s
Schneider’s on the Hill (300 Mass Ave NE) went before the committee to request a single sales exemption for both beer and half pint liquor. Commissioner Phelps stated that she received over 140 emails in support of Schneiders and two in opposition. The letters of dissent urged the committee to deny all exemptions rather than outlining any issues with Schneiders. Owner Jon Genderson stated his case for the appeal. He lives just one block from the store and is invested not only in his business but the community as well. The store ceased to sell singles of malt liquor and other cheap beer THIRTY years ago. The singles they do sell are high end Belgians typically at a price point of $7.99 and up. For half pints they sell none of the cheap spirits and their best selling half pint is a brandy used for cooking. The owner estimated that beer represents only 5% of the total sales of the store with only 1% as single sales. Several residents testified in favor of Schneider’s and none expressed opposition. The committee passed a motion (3-0-1) in support of the single sale exemption.

Final ANC positions on these matters will be decided at the full commission meeting on Wednesday March 11th.

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Vagrants drink more than Malt Liquor

During the December MVSNA meeting in which Good Libations single serve moratorium exemption was endorsed a prevailing theme was that vagrants only buy cheap malt Liquor. Good Libations owner Ronny Greene convinced some MVSNA members that the mid-scale singles he sells are not what vagrants seek out. This is a fool hardy a premise. I have consistently seen midscale beers littered around the Mount Vernon Triangle.

Last night coming back from Gallery Place I walked past 3 Heinekens in tree boxes. This morning I brought my camera with me on a quick walk to Safeway and snapped photos of beer and liquor bottles littered throughout the neighborhood. Keep in mind how bad this could be if the MVT CID team did not employ a clean team that picks up trash 7 days a week.

One trash can in the Triangle park at 5th & I had an additional 3 Heinekens. Public drinking is not purely a malt liquor issue.

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ANC 6C discussion on Good Libations

Wednesday night I attended the January ANC 6C meeting. Yesterday I touched on the Triangle related transportation item and this posting will cover the discussion around Good Libations. Voice of the Hill attended the meeting and we can expect a recap on the entirety of the meeting’s topics from them in the near future and when it is published I will link to it.


Good Libations, ANC 2C, 5th and M Streets NW request for single sales exemption

Commissioner Charley Docter outlined concerns about a recent exemption endorsement by ANC 2C of a liquor store just 1/10 of a mile north of the ANC 6C boundaries. He raised the question what standing does the ANC 6C have in the matter and how would the commission want to proceed. The floor was given to Good Libations owner Ron Green and those representation opposition from Madrigal Lofts, 555 Mass and the DNA.

I can’t possibly recap the entirety of the discussion but I think I can hit the major points:

Ron’s statement focused on the two premises.

  • He does not believe that selling singles has to be an all or nothing venture. He appealed to the audience that he does not sell the lowest caliber of products such as Steel Reserve 211s or half pints of liquor but wants the exemption to continue to sell mid-scale and premium beers as singles.
  • He has approval from ANC 2C and the MVSNA which are the stewards of his neighborhood.

Thais from 555 Mass spoke out in opposition to the exemption

  • Described the volume of substance abuse problems in the neighborhood and provided a spatial portrait outlaying proximity of 555 Mass to the 5 area liquor stores and the social service providers including shelters, soup kitchens and AA meetings.
  • Outlined the migration of public drinking to Subway Liquors (5th & K) since the ban went into effect at Chinatown market. Expressed concern that exemptions shift the problem around and undermine the effectiveness of the ban

I also raised reasons for my opposition:

  • Reiterated the quality of life issues that are linked to single sales which plague our neighborhood
  • Cited the ABRA criteria “Impact of an exemption to the effectiveness of the overall ban”
  • Challenged the notion that the moratorium needs to change (through exemptions) before affording people the opportunity to change
  • Included my research on Mt Pleasant’s 8 year ban to my written testimony

Miles Groves spoke on behalf of the DNA.

  • Reiterated the quality of life issues that are linked to single sales which plague our neighborhood
  • Stated that the DNA urged ANC 2C to defer their decision on Good Libations until discussing the exemption with ANC 6C but the request was not honored.

Commissioner Anne Phelps, named chair of the ANC’s licensing committee earlier in the evening, expressed that it was not wise to take a stance until the committee deliberated and devised a process for which all upcoming exemption requests would be uniformly evaluated.

The commissioners discussed the ABRA timelines for the Good Libations exemption request. The outcome was the following (wording emailed to me by RobA):

Move to send a letter to ABRA stating we [ANC 6C] believe we have standing as the immediately adjacent ANC and that we request that ABRA action be delayed until 45 to 60 days from ABRA’s receipt of the application for exemption from the single sales ban. This 45-60 day delay is requested to allow ANC 6C to meet at the committee level to decide a consistent policy for all single sales in 6C and to have that committee decision come before the full Commission for a vote.

REACT: I’m satisfied with the outcome. I’m against single sale beers for all the reasons we’ve been talking about on the blog since December. But the most maddening aspect of all this is the lack of a well defined objective and transparent process to apply across the board in evaluating exemptions.

My feeling is that the MVSNA should have discussed their global approach to evaluating exemptions before having hearings for individual establishments. This process could have started internally in within their BoD, included an open forum for community feedback, then ultimately vetted by ANC2C and ANC6C to ensure a consistent paradigm with the entities they will ultimately be making their recommendations to. Instead their process has been very reactionary and flying by the seat of their pants.

It began at November MVSNA meeting with an endorsement of Modern Liquors, which lies outside their borders, based on only a brief discussion that lacked the context of the ABRA regulations. In December, Good Libations was approved by MVSNA membership 17-3 with far more discussion however there is still disagreement on what precedent was set other than the clause for a 1-year probation period and a popular vote. Listening into the discussion brands seemed to be implicitly part of the decision even if they are not explicitly part of the voluntary agreement. However when B&M Market, which sells cheaper beer, inevitably comes before MVSNA will brands still be powering peoples decisions? Many of us feel the membership will just find a different focal point to emphasize and justify an exemption. That’s not acceptable. These decisions need both consistent criteria and consistent weighting applied to that criteria.

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Modern Liquors SSM exemption

Editor’s Note: This posting is older news from November. I’ve intended to recap it for awhile but between the holidays and a frantic amount of January meetings this blogger has been SWAMPED.


The November MVSNA newsletter was published electronically on the afternoon of Saturday November 14th. I first opened the PDF on Sunday night and saw that the “Modern Liquors Single Sales Exemption” was on the agenda. The headliner agenda item was that Douglas Development finally was going to share their development concept for Squares 450 and 451.


No details were promoted about the nature of the Modern Liquors Single Sales exemption agenda item on the Lifein MVSNA blog or elsewhere. I assumed exemptions would not be considered in a positive light given that MVSNA President Cary Silverman made a Ward 2 Singles ban a priority topic in his campaign to win Jack Evan’s council seat.

When the topic was discussed at the membership meeting on Tuesday November 18th, Silverman recited external testimony exalting Modern Liquors as a well loved store that had already packaged together endorsements from ANC2F and two other neighborhood associations. The testimony touted the store as being under the same ownership (not in attendance) for 20+ years and selling only the belgian and microbrews as singles. One couple spoke up about attending tastings at the store.

I kept waiting for the devil’s advocate. It never came. The vote began. I expected some division. Seemingly everyone (25 people) voted “Yes” but me. SHIT, I was shell shocked!! Did I want to take on twenty-five people by myself to object to a store that I had never been to? Am i possibly going to make a dent? I’m hardly a persuasive public speaker and I was armed with no ammunition (aka research & notes). I just didn’t vote.

Had I thought a little more quickly on my feet I still wouldn’t have voted “No”. I would have just asked “Why are we ruling on this at all? We’ve not discussed the policy in depth. This will be viewed as a precedent setting decision by some and we’ve not considered the ramifications of that the endorsement will have on future requests.“.

After this November meeting I learned more details that further stoked my disappointment with the vote on Modern. While the MVSNA did have a copy of the exemption application form that outlined certain core criteria a business needs to meet for consideration, they put forth this vote six days before receiving the full ABRA regulations on 11/24. Only at that point was it learned that neither brands of alcohol nor price points may be included in a voluntary agreement. It’s basically all or nothing.

Additionally in a December 1st sit down with Ron Green from Good Libations he informed us that Modern Liquors does carry Steel Reserve 211 – aka King of the Hobo brews. I later visited Modern and did not see the 211′s but Ron says they are in a case in the foyer. Because I was buzzed in immediately and did not linger in the foyer I apparently walked right past them into the main area without noticing them.

Since that November MVSNA meeting I’ve realized that I need to challenge the inertia that has been created towards endorsing exemptions primarily via adhoc ‘make it up as you go’ criteria and straw polls of 20 members.

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DCNorth on SSM exemptions

Reporter Amanda Abrams from DCNorth has wrote a piece on Single Sales Moratorium exemptions in the publication’s January Edition.

Click to visit full article which is on page 3

Amanda Abrams was given my contact information and a link to our coverage but never approached me. It is clear she decided the story was big bad government being punitive towards small business owners. It also is perpetuating the idea that these liquor stores are just selling microbrews – how is a 22oz Corona a microbrew?

In fact, I find the subtitle of “Ethics and Exemptions” a bit confounding? Where is the Ethics argument? Is it when Rob Amos cites the need for objective criteria? Because Rob made that statement as an advocate against exemptions yet it was taken out of context by Amanda to suit her own slant.

From Rob:

It was pointed out to me that the article reads as if I were pro-exemption. That is far from the truth. It seems that the author took selective bits and pieces from the interview to give the story a pro-exemption, pro-small business slant. I was one of the few who voted against the Good Libations exemption at the MVSNA meeting and my “objective” comment was in regard to using the same set of rules and standards against other businesses as they did Good Libations. Since you can’t discriminate on the types/brands of beer sold, then the same standards that applied to Good Libations to give them their exemption have to also be applied to B&M to grant their exemption request by the neighborhood association.

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ANC 2C endorses Single Sale Moratorium exemption

In addition to the calamity surrounding voting on a chairperson, ANC 2C also voted to endorse a Single Sale Moratorium exemption to Good Libations (1201 5th St NW). The ANC 2C voted 4-0 to endorse the exemption using the same voluntary agreement based condition drafted by the MVSNA.

DNA president Miles Groves was in attendance and outlined his objections to the endorsement. Good Libations falls just 1/10 of a mile outside of the DNA boundaries. The downtown neighborhood has had an ongoing problem with public drinking and loitering.

A corner by corner ban is not a sufficient approach. Vagrants who loiter around all day have all the time in the world to walk the extra 3 blocks to get their single beer. A 555 Mass resident has already witnessed former Chinatown Market (6th & H) single buyers going to Subway Liquors II (5th & K) were the singles ban is not yet underway.

Currently, the Chinatown Market single serve moratorium has gone into effect while the Subway Liquor moratorium is still in process. The impact of this is that there has been a significant increase in public drinking on our block in the last couple of weeks. It is hard for MPD to enforce because the guys keep their drinks in their jackets.

Last Saturday morning, I watched a procession of guys who usually drink at the Building Museum come into our part of the neighborhood to buy their alcohol. Many tried to stay and loiter on our building (they were run off). Others bought at Subway and returned to 5th and G NW. That being said, our neighbors in ANC2C are trying to get a single serve exemption a few blocks to the north of us. If this happens, the Subway moratorium will be undermined as these guys will still have a place nearby to buy their singles.

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Single Sales Testimony

Below is an excerpt from Cary Silverman’s testimony before the Committee on Public Works and the Environment. Cary is the current MVSNA president and at the time Cary was running for the Ward 2 City Council position. He clearly states these are his personal views not those of any organization he is affiliated with. But I am bummed out when I attend MVSNA meetings and he’s not remotely challenging the community to consider the downsides of exemptions. The conversations have been framed to be pro-business.

Excerpt:

My testimony today represents my personal views. I am not representing any organization.

FAIR, EFFECTIVE, SOUND POLICY

I would like to address head on some of the frequent questions and concerns raised as to whether this legislation is needed, as well as its fairness and effectiveness.

  1. Why do we need a single sales ban when the conduct stemming from singles, such aggressive pan handling, littering, public drinking, and public urination, is already illegal?
    Unfortunately, every resident knows that these quality-of-life crimes are very rarely enforced. At best, a passing officer will request that the violator move on. A ban on single sales eliminates a major source of these problems. It is readily enforceable. It will have a real impact. Moreover, it will reduce the need for citizens to repeatedly call 911 for such matters and allow officers to focus on other crimes.

  2. Why not just continue the current practice of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and community associations entering into voluntary agreements with individual stores to prohibit single sales where there is a problem?
    The voluntary agreement process does not work with respect to single sales for three reasons.
    • First, due to the nature of the process, it pits residents against small business owners, which is very unfortunate and strains community relations. It takes neighborhood residents away from their jobs. It requires small business owners to hire lawyers and go to hearings.
    • Second, applying a prohibition to one business but not another two blocks away places the first at a competitive disadvantage. I have watched this play out in Chinatown, where residents have tried to simultaneously negotiate voluntary agreements with three businesses, to little result but a lot of sweat and hearings.
    • Third, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has historically not been receptive to voluntary agreements banning the sale of singles for individual establishments. In some cases, after numerous hearings and status conferences, the best result the ANC is able to obtain from the ABC Board with respect to well-documented problems is a requirement that the licensee package singles in clear plastic bags.

  3. Won’t the market eventually phase out sale of singles as neighborhoods change?
    I do not believe that any community should be subject to the problems associated with the sale of single beverages. Moreover, in any neighborhood, there is a strong incentive to sell singles. They are highly profitable and come with an addicted customer base. The cost is imposed on the surrounding neighborhood.

SCOPE OF THE PROPOSED PROHIBITION ON SINGLE SALES

I would also like to address the scope of the proposed ban. In my view, the prohibition should be enacted citywide and it certainly should include all of Ward 2. There are three reasons why.

  1. It treats small business owners equitably and fairly. Single sales are highly profitable and come with an addicted customer base. Just as voluntary agreements prohibit individual licensees from selling singles place that business at a competitive disadvantage with those nearby, so too do limited bans. As I mentioned, MVSNA is on the border of Wards 2, 5, and 6. A customer could simply walk from Mount Vernon or Chinatown to a corner store on First Street NW or North Capital to buy a single, taking their money elsewhere.
  2. It will place a higher burden on the communities not covered. There is no imaginary wall between stores east and west of 15th Street NW. Should the Ward 2 legislation pass, I would be surprised if some of those who currently drink on 14th Street and 11th Street do not simply walk over to 17th Street or go a few blocks north into Ward 1.
  3. There’s no good reason to exempt certain areas. I would like to ask you, Council Members, to consider the question in this way: If singles were already prohibited in the District, would you have introduced legislation authorizing their sale? Or consider it this way. The District does not permit corner stores to sell individual cigarettes for fifty cents for a multitude of good reasons. Why should the city permit the sale of singles for a dollar? Even if an area currently does not have a single-sale licensee, would it want one? Why are we legislating this issue on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis? Will the combined effect of this year’s legislation effectively create “public drinking zones” in Ward 5 and parts of Wards 1 and 2? Why not cover the entire city?

You can read more on the Cary For Council site including:

Christopher, thanks for your comment. A few thoughts. First, the problem of singles may hit some areas harder than others, which doesn’t mean, in my opinion, that we should legislate in a way that pushes the problem around. Ward 2 has the highest concentration of liquor licenses. Combine that with the fact that Ward 2 and the downtown area also has the greatest concentration of homeless individuals and homeless services. Now throw single sales in the mix.

But Ward 6 also has its share of single sale problems. The Chinatown Market, in Ward 6 just off the Ward 2 border, has been the subject of neighborhood complaints for years for its high volume of single sales and the effects resulting from it.

In another area of Ward 6, residents worked for over a year to obtain a moratorium from the ABC Board from September 2006 until they finally received approval in July 2007 – it took effect this past October. According to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area, about 98% of the people he spoke with supported the ban (ed note: link now busted). The Ward 6 moratorium covers 7 blocks between the 700 and 1400 Blocks of H Street NW. In reaching their decision, the ABC Board cited chronic problems with respect to litter, loitering, public drunkenness, public urination and criminal activity. According to his website, Ward 6 Council Member’s position: “A moratorium will go a long way to address some of the chaos and crime afflicting H Street, NE. On top of that, the neighborhood is tired of people using the streets, alleys and treeboxes as public urinals and trashcans. To realize the promise of H Street, this is a necessary step to bring back order and stability and make it a thriving asset for the neighborhood.” DCist did a little poll after the ABC Board approved the H Street moratorium. Only 27% of those who responded supported keeping singles around.

It doesn’t make sense to deal with this problem piecemeal, requiring residents to fight it out establishment by establishment, block by block , neighborhood by neighborhood. There’s little argument to be made in support of single sales of alcohol, just like there’s no good argument for single sales of cigarettes. If singles sales of alcohol were not legal today, could a compelling argument be made for making it legal?

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My tour of Mt Pleasant liquor and convenience stores

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.

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.

Conclusion
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.

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