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Voters will decide if liquor sales will be allowed in Pembroke

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:55 PM EDT
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PEMBROKE, Ga. (WTOC) - This month’s election could be a historic one for the city of Pembroke.

Not because of who will be in office but instead what you might be able to soon pick up at a store.

Packaged spirit sales have been banned in Pembroke but as voters head to the polls that soon could change.

Rakesh Patel is the store owner at QuickStop market, and he is urging his customers to vote yes, this election.

“These days, we are not in 1971. Everywhere, every town sells liquor, so we need the business,” Pate said.

He says those looking to buy liquor have to go out of the city taking business away from his store.

“They don’t have to go in every town. They go 5 miles from here, 10 miles from here,” Pate said.

It’s an ongoing debate in the city whether to allow packaged spirit sales in Pembroke.

A debate voters will decide on the May 24th ballot a move that could have both benefits and drawbacks says council member Johnnie Miller.

“They wouldn’t have to drive out of town to have a nice cocktail, a margarita, a mixed drink,” Johnnie A. Miller, Pembroke District 1 Councilmember said.

He says allowing liquor sales could help draw in new restaurants and tax revenue for the city.

“Each person that gets a liquor store or sells alcohol has to pay a tax on it and we would benefit from the taxes off the alcohol sales,” Miller said.

But Miller says there are some concerns.

“This is a very religious type community. We are a lot like a bible belt, church going community. Some of them are totally against alcohol,” Miller said.

On top of religious beliefs concerns over underage drinking and drunk driving deaths remain.

Packaged spirit sales have been banned in Pembroke.

“And that was the main reason a lot of people went against alcohol was because of the death and the tragedy it brought to the families,” Miller said.

But for Patel who is ready to open a liquor store next to his current business, he hopes people vote yes.

“It’s going to make a good business for me. People are going to love me if I open my place. They’re going to love me,” Patel said.

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