Some neighbors balk at Sumter liquor store -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Some neighbors balk at Sumter liquor store

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Sam Patel (Source: WALB) Sam Patel (Source: WALB)
Reggie Larkin (Source: WALB) Reggie Larkin (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

An Americus convenience store owner, looking to open package store next door, finds some opposition from residents.

As Sam Patel prepares for his second alcoholic beverage license hearing with the Sumter County board of commissioners, some people who live on Jenkins Road are voicing their opposition to a package store there.

Brenda Tyson has lived on Jenkins Road more than 20 years. She didn't want to go on camera with us, but says it's a nice place to live, and she's confident a package store will change that for the worse.

At the corner of Jenkins Road and Highway 27 in Sumter County,  Sam's Country Store welcomes customers. "We run our operation smoothly. I'm always there every morning," said Sam Patel, who has owned this store for three years.

Now, he hopes to open Sam's Package Store right next door, a convenient place for people to buy liquor. "People don't have a choice. They have to go all the way to town to get the stuff they want but they still don't have much choice."

However, several residents, including Brenda Tyson who lives across the street, aren't so happy about this idea. Tyson said the package store would negatively impact the dynamic of her street. She says several people in the neighborhood have the same opinion.

But Reggie Larkin, who lives across Highway 27, is not one of them. "I don't see no problem with it. It's not a bar and it isn't going to pose a risk at night. This guy closes at 10:00 out of respect for everybody around here," he said.
Patel says his country store has already improved the area. "Before we came to this corner, this corner was dry. Now, everybody is appreciating it because they know they have easy to access."

Some of the concerns of the neighbors, traffic, and loitering. But Patel says his management style will protect against that. "I spend 15 hours at the store, versus [what] I spend just coming to sleep at home. So if my house is not safe, it's more trouble to me."

Patel's second and last hearing in front of the board of commissioners for his alcohol beverage license is November 9 at 6 p.m.

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