Smoketown leaders fighting to block opening of 2 new liquor stores
The two liquor stores would open next door to each other.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A struggling Louisville neighborhood is battling to prevent the opening of two new liquor stores.
The stores are set to open in Smoketown right next door to each other at the corner of Broadway and Hancock Streets, and some neighbors said that is two liquor stores too many.
Nachand Trabue is a fourth-generation Smoketown native, and the owner of the event venue, Manhattan on Broadway. She opened her business in the neighborhood two years ago, in part, to give back.
“One of the main objectives was to be able to do it and help to revitalize the area,” Trabue said.
That is why she is battling to prevent the two liquor stores from opening just down the street.
“When a business comes into a community, they should be to empower the community and not to hurt the community," she said. "Liquors stores are not going to help."
But there is a problem for opponents of the stores. The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's public comment period ended with no one protesting. Nachand said the reason is few in the community even saw the posting of the license applications in the newspaper.
“The stakeholders in the community were not notified,” she said.
District 4 Metro Council member Barbara Sexton Smith said she is doing what she can to help.
“I'm going to be meeting with the Jefferson County Attorney's office and some other folks in the community to explore possibilities,” she said.
The owner of the A-Z liquor store, Alem Tella, told WDRB News that if neighbors oppose him, he may decide to back off and open a grocery store instead.
The owner of East Coast Liquors said he's moving ahead but promises a clean, upscale store with plenty of security.
“I'm hoping the community will give me a chance to be in there and be part of it,” Samir Alya said.
Opponents are not buying it.
“Liquor is liquor, and it does produce certain behaviors,” Smith said.
Trabue said neighborhood leaders are not giving up.
“We're actually still going to go about sending letters to the ABC in Frankfort to let them know we're not pleased, and we do not want this liquor store in our community,” she said.
Both stores still must pass a building inspection. There's no word on when a final decision could come on their liquor license applications.
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