CHICO, Calif. - Six high-profile deaths involving alcohol has the city of Chico re-thinking its policy on issuing beer and wine licenses. But this new direction might be putting a new business owner, out of business.
Mangrove Mini-mart on Fifth and Mangrove Avenue is located at a very busy location, and customers come in looking for beer.
Right now, owner Charanjiv Singh has no beer to sell them. He said he's invested and taken out loans of $600,000 to buy the store, only to learn he cannot sell beer. That could put his investment in jeopardy.
The department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, ABC, denied his application after the Chico City Council by a vote of 6-1 recommended against it. The council followed the recommendation of Police Chief Kirk Trostle, who wanted to make a bold statement in the face of numerous alcohol-related deaths.
Sean Morgan was the only city council member to recommend that Mangrove Mini Mart receive its beer and wine license.
"To do that in the middle of his application was not fair, said Morgan. "For him to go through all that trouble, especially for him, this is not an area that we have a lot of problems with geographically. And then be told no, we're picking the winners and government is not supposed to pick the winners."
Singh had no reason to believe his application would be denied, as the previous owner of the convenience store had had a license. He said he never would have bought the store if he'd known what he does now.
Morgan agrees that a new policy on alcohol licenses should be studied. Singh wishes he'd known all of this before he invested in his business.
"I'll do my best. We'll be able probably to survive for another year," said Singh.
Singh said he plans to appeal the decision. and he may have a pretty good chance. One city council member who voted initially indicates he hopes Singh does appeal and hopes that he's successful with it.
The ABC said Mangrove Mini Mart was denied because there is already a concentration of licenses in that area.
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