New ABC liquor store planned for Chocowinity|It would replace existing, smaller store, and offer larger variety of merchandise

Published 6:31 am Saturday, July 11, 2009

Staff Writer

Chocowinity has grown in recent years, but its liquor store has remained tiny. Now officials are in the process of giving it a bigger, more modern Alcohol Control Board store.
“They need to, because there’s so much stuff that they don’t have here that you can get in Washington,” said Pam Hardee, of Grimesland, who was visiting the store Friday evening.
Linda Nichparenko, of Black Jack, also supported the move.
“That would be nice,” she said.
JoKay Smith, Beaufort County ABC general manager, said the new 2,500-square-foot store will be brick with columns in front to match other structures in Chocowinity. Smith added that one aim of the new store is to offer a better selection of merchandise.
“They’re looking for a bigger and more modern facility,” said Chocowinity Mayor Jimmy Mobley.
To build the new package store, the county ABC Board in May purchased a 1.26-acre lot next to the Tiger Cat equipment dealership on U.S. Highway 17 South in Chocowinity from a Wilmington-based property company. The land cost about $150,000, according to county tax records.
Smith said the board is also hoping that the new store will be able to stay open longer, right up to the state-mandated 9 p.m. sales deadline.
But whether the new, larger store can draw that much more business is likely to turn on what effect the U.S. Highway 17 Bypass project has on business along the current U.S. Highway 17 in Chocowinity, she said.
“I guess we’ll have to see how all that turns out,” Smith said.
If the store can support new hours, the board would likely hire a new, full-time employee, Smith said.
She said the board could open the new store as soon as December, depending on how soon officials can get all of the various permits required to build on the site.
According to minutes from the county ABC Board’s May 18 meeting, the state’s ABC Commission is expected to support the move.