Canaan Store gets green light on alcohol

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

Managing editor

The owners of the recently-opened Canaan Corner Store, located on Burney Street in Madison, are officially allowed to sell alcohol. The Madison Mayor and City Council approved the license after the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) devised some restrictions on alcohol sales to ease the concerns of surrounding citizens who did not want alcohol sales in their neighborhood.

While Henry and Rita Harris, along with Marilyn Williams, own the Canaan Corner Store business, the City of Madison owns the building.

“Since this is a City-owned property, we have the right to be concerned about what happens in our properties,” said Hodges who was pleased with the additional restrictions.

According to City officials, the Canaan Corner Store will not be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays, must keep the primary use of facility as a convenient store, and must keep 75 percent of the merchandise for sale non-alcoholic. No alcohol consumption or loitering will be allowed on the premises and if either happens, the owners must be “actively and aggressively” notifying the police.

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman was pleased with the compromise, noting that the last Town Hall meeting over alcohol sales at the Canaan Corner Store garnered about 80 percent approval from the members of the public who attended.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) facilitated a Town Hall meeting in August to give the new owners of the Canaan Corner Store the chance to make their case to be allowed to sell alcohol.

Originally, the DDA held a Town Hall meeting at which only 25 people attended with the majority against the sale of alcohol in the Canaan neighborhood. But the owners argued that 25 people do not represent 350 households in the area and wanted a second Town Hall meeting to get more feedback on the idea. About 75 people attended the meeting in August with the vast majority of people supporting alcohol sales out of the store.

Rita and Henry Harris, along with investor Marilyn Williams, argued that their business plan would not be feasible without alcohol sales, estimating nearly $5,000 a month in lost revenue from alcohol sales.

Four members of the public spoke against the store selling alcohol, while about 20 spoke in favor of it.

The City will also review its lease with the owners every year to determine if alcohol sales work out and remain beneficial to the business without jeopardizing the surrounding community.

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