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Beer license may be yanked

Marion to investigate whether business told the whole truth

Staff writer

A Marion businesswoman who got a cereal malt beverage license so customers could enjoy a beer while shopping will now get a compliance review to determine whether she didn’t tell city council members the whole truth when she got her license.

Johsie Reid, who operates JR Hatters Mercantile at 308 E. Main St., has added what she calls on social media a “back room bar,” selling beer for $3 a can.

In a Nov. 25 post, she invited people to come to a soft opening for the back room bar, with beer and seltzers to be sold for $3.

On Monday’s city council agenda was consideration of Reid’s request for an exemption from city code forbidding sale of beer within 300 feet of a church. Valley United Methodist Church is half a block away from the back of Reid’s building.

City administrator Roger Holter said Reid was supposed to present a letter from the church indicating it did not object. Reid did not present the letter, nor did she appear at Monday’s meeting.

Council members said they must have misunderstood Reid’s intention when they granted her a license.

Reid asked at that time to be able to let customers enjoy a beer as they shopped.

After a newspaper article about Reid’s “Branding Bar,” complete with a photo of a sign advertising $3 beers, appeared in a different publication, council members reviewed what they understood Reid intended when they granted her license.

“Is this a tavern?” mayor David Mayfield asked. “Maybe I misunderstood the night we approved that.”

“I kind of misunderstood, too,” councilwoman Ruth Herbel said.

Herbel moved to disapprove the exemption, and to suspend Reid’s license for violation of city code.

“She has no conditional use permit,” Herbel said.

A conditional use permit would be required to have a tavern.

As for suspending her license, Holter told council members the process is to have Police Chief Clinton Jeffrey perform a compliance review and return to the council with a recommendation. His recommendation could be to suspend or revoke her license, or to let her keep it.

In other business, council members approved a conditional use permit to operate a day care center in a building that formerly housed Trace of Copper and denied a request for a conditional use permit for former economic development director Randy Collett to put an apartment on the first floor of a historic building he owns at 318 E. Main St.

Zach Collett, who was sworn onto the council Monday and is Randy Collett’s son, did not vote on the decision to deny a conditional use permit.

Last modified Jan. 13, 2022

 

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