When a company from out of state prepared to start selling alcohol at its convenience store in Crofton, about eight months ago, every member of the city council officially declared they didn’t want alcohol sales in the town.
Leaders of several Protestant churches planned a meeting to discuss their response. The company cancelled its application when it got word.
But this month the Dollar General store just south of Crofton’s city limits got an application for beer sales approved. It will stock the shelves soon, a company spokeswoman said.
This puts it among six other Dollar General stores in Christian County, and a total of 26 in Kentucky, that have received beer licenses since Aug. 21.
From an office in Nashville, spokeswoman Emily Weiss said the company is gradually introducing beer sales at stores all over the country. Of its 10,000 stores, about 3,900 now sell it, Weiss said.
The corporation has 381 Kentucky stores, according to its website. Weiss said officials decide where to sell beer based on market demand.
The news is again riling up the small town’s residents. The city sent the Dollar General company the same letter it sent in the winter to the Huck’s corporation, asking it to cancel plans to sell beer. It has received no response, Mayor Dan Lacy said.
“We have enough problems with drugs and everything now without something else coming in there,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a family store. So that’s what the people in Crofton expect.”
Per state law, the corporation posted a notice in the area’s largest newspaper, the New Era, that it was applying for a beer license. The public had 30 days after June 21 to protest the application.
Kelly Finley, Christian County’s alcoholic beverage control administrator, didn’t receive notice of any protests. Lacy said the town apparently missed the deadline. He and many other residents don’t get the newspaper, and they didn’t know about the license application until they saw a sign posted on the Dollar General’s front door, he said.
The news upset pastors and their congregations again, too. Alan Hopper, pastor of Voice of Faith, said he opposes alcohol sales there as a community member, father and grandfather.
“The scripture says that no drunkard shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Hopper said. “They’re doing enough business as it is without bringing the sale of alcohol.”
Some people say they only drink in moderation, but the presence of another beer vendor promotes the possibility of residents becoming alcoholics, Hopper said. And this could also affect residents who never drink.
“Maybe you’re going to be confronted in the parking lot by somebody under the influence of alcohol,” he said.
Kris Page, pastor of Cornerstone Bible Church, wrote an official statement of his church’s position. It quotes a passage from the mission statement on Dollar General’s website.
“We are committed to conducting business in a way that promotes healthy families, thriving communities and a cleaner environment,” the mission statement reads.
The company’s decision to sell beer seems to contradict this — and to threaten the “success and safety” of Crofton’s families, Page wrote.
The church’s members are praying Dollar General will decide not to sell beer, Page said. Neither he nor Hopper has planned additional action so far.
The city still hopes to hear back from Dollar General before taking action, Lacy said.
“If we have to go further with it, then maybe we’ll have some public meeting,” he said.
But it may be too late for legal action. It would be unusual for Kentucky’s alcoholic beverage control licensure board to consider a petition that was filed too late, Christian County Attorney Mike Foster said.
Asked whether Dollar General would think about canceling alcohol sales because of the community’s response, Weiss noted that the residents already had a chance to air grievances. She said the company always goes by states’ laws.
Foster said the state does not allow alcohol sales within 200 feet of a school or church. It measures from building to building, not by property lines, he said.
Of the other seven other Dollar Generals in Christian County, five are in Hopkinsville, one is in Pembroke and one is in Oak Grove. Every store but the Oak Grove location has received a beer license since Sept. 5, according to state records. Each license expires July 31.
Altogether, 113 businesses in Christian County have alcohol sales licenses.