ACC delays action during food-to-drink license hearing

Monday, Apr. 17, 2023–8:20 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Stephanie Shaw with Peaches pleads her case during a hearing Monday before the Rome Alcohol Control Commission

The Rome Alcohol Commission took no action Monday following a license hearing for Peaches at 325 Broad Street, opting instead to give the licensee more time to come up with the documentation showing that the business is in compliance with the City of Rome’s 50-50 food to drink ratio.

Unless a variance is granted, establishments in the City of Rome that sell distilled spirits by the drink must also be a restaurant, selling at least as much food as liquor. The ratio does not apply to beer and wine.

According to Rome City Clerk Joe Smith, the license holder at Peaches was asked to appear before the ACC because there were concerns that the business was not meeting the 50-50 food-to-drink ratio following an examination of receipts for the time period that began in January and ended in October of 2022.

“We are a long way from meeting that ratio,” Smith said.

Stephanie Shaw, who is the licensee, told the ACC that the business was in the process of recovering from a 30-day suspension of its license and that she did not send Smith all of the receipts.

“I had absolutely no staff, no points of sale system, my credit card merchants have quit on me, and the bank account close,” she said. “That’s what happens when you get a 30-day suspension. My security costs three or four times more. I was overwhelmed. Joe, you don’t have all my receipts.”

The license suspension was handed out by the Rome City Commission in August, following a large fight that took place at the bar on Jul. 30 where multiple Rome Police officers had to respond due to the size and severity of the incident.  Smith said a notice regarding concerns over the food-to-drink ratio was sent in November.

During Monday’s hearing, Shaw asked for a little more time to present the receipts for food purchases. Some on the ACC wondered how Shaw could now present all of the necessary information in the next few days when she wasn’t able to over the course of several months. Still, ACC chair Monica Sheppard is hopeful they can arrive at a solution because she does not want to see a business close down on Broad Street.

“She expressed to us the difficulties she had getting her business back on track since her previous suspension and we wanted to give her due diligence,” Sheppard said. “We decided that were willing to have a special meeting in order to give her a couple of weeks to pull that stuff together.”

Sheppard added the goal is for Shaw to have a safe and successful business, not for her to have to shut down.

Shaw has until April 26 to turn in the other receipts. The ACC will then have a called meeting on May 1. If the business is found in violation of the 50-50 ratio, penalties could range from a suspension of the license to the license actually being revoked. The Rome City Commission will have the final say after the ACC issues a recommendation.

According to Shaw, if she loses her liquor license, she will go out of business.

ACC approves a number of package licenses Monday

Also on Monday, the ACC approved beer package licenses to Satwant Singh for a new convenience store near the site of the former Wow Wings location at 2811 Martha Berry Highway, and at 5th Avenue Food Mart, which will be located at 1102 North Fifth Avenue near Dollar General.

Khuram Ramzanali has been approved for a beer package license at K & A Mart, which will be located at the former location of The Lantern at 1807 Maple Avenue.

The ACC also approved a beer, wine, and liquor package license for Sunil Mittal, who wants to construct a new liquor store at the corner of Riverside Parkway and Riverside Industrial Drive.

The ACC approved a new beer and wine package license for Roshan K Bhaidani for an existing convenience store which is being renovated at 1928 Shorter Avenue.

Brahmbhatt Akash Harshadkumar was also granted a beer and wine package license for Shop N Save at 1303 Shorter Avenue between Leon and Williamson Streets, which is expected to open on Saturday.

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