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Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Rockford officials nix liquor permit request

By Tom Stankard
ROCKFORD - Village council members on Tuesday rejected a request by Duncan Oil for permits to sell alcohol after several residents voiced concerns about possible repercussions.
Duncan Oil Director of Store Operations Kathryn McDaniel on June 5 told village council members the Beavercreek-based company is moving into the former TJ's Grocerette, 301 N. Main St., and will do business as Rockford Road Dog.
Company officials had requested a C-1 permit to sell beer and malt beverages for carry-out only and a C-2 permit to sell wine and mixed beverages.
Rockford already has the maximum number of C-1 and C-2 permits allowed. Those held by Rockford Carry Out and Dining and Barry's Family Market allow carry-out sales. Sunshine Oil and the American Legion have permits for on-premises or carryout sales, though Sunshine Oil does not allow on-site consumption.
Duncan Oil officials had told council they are seeking an alternative method known as TREX transferring to acquire a permit.
Ohio Division of Liquor Control states this method had been created to "try to help those areas of the state that have an over-issuance of permits by TREX transferring them from another area of the state."
More than 20 residents attended Tuesday's council meeting to oppose the request.
Mary Beougher said the permit isn't needed.
"I can't think of one town our size that has more than four businesses in a two-block area that sells beer and wine," she said. "It's just not necessary."
She said granting the permits could hurt Barry's Family Market, and "I personally don't want to lose them."
Barry Peel, owner of Barry's Family Market, said Van Wert doesn't issue TREX transfer licenses because "it will create more problems" and challenged council and audience members to think of one positive outcome the transfer could have.
Duncan Oil Retail Sales Director Ken Kilgore said he could.
"It would make Rockford's biggest retailer stronger and enable us to move forward," he said. "It will make people not have to make a decision on where to shop and make the convenient store more convenient."
Rockford Eagles Club Manager Jennifer Miller said "that sounds like Walmart."
"What has Walmart done to all the little towns? It ruined other stores and we can't afford to lose any. There's other ways to benefit the village," she said.
Whether Duncan Oil is granted the permits or not, Kilgore said Road Dog is here to stay.
"We want to renovate the facility inside and out and add a well-known fast-food taco restaurant inside the building," he said. "We want to be here 30 years from now and need the community to support our business."
Council member Steve Gehle said as a businessman he supports free trade and wants to see Road Dog be able to compete, but he emphasized that he opposed issuing the permits.
"If we let this one go, what's next? I don't think it's right to issue an outside permit if we're already maxed out," he said.
Councilor Greg Pontsler agreed and made a motion to reject the request. Council members voted 4-0 to do so, with Chris Heitkamp abstaining because he works for Duncan Oil.
In other business, village administrator Jeff Long thanked fire department members for their help in flushing the hydrants and noted no problems had been reported.
He said ground has been broken for The Fremont Company's $27 million expansion project. Fremont officials plan to construct a warehouse of more than 150,000 square feet and possibly add 70 new full-time positions, company president Chris Smith previously had told the newspaper.
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