3 Albany Family Dollars approved to sell alcohol

The Albany City Commission approved liquor licenses for three out of six Family Dollar locations.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - There will soon be three Family Dollar locations in Albany where anyone can buy alcohol. The city commission approved three out of six locations that were awaiting approval.

They are located at 110 Cordele Road, 1502 Radium Springs Road and 301 East Oglethorpe Boulevard.

This isn’t the first time Family Dollar has applied for a liquor license. Last year, the one on Dawson Road got approved while the one on Maple Avenue was denied. The three recent approvals that include this one here on Oglethorpe have not only stirred up mixed feelings in the community but also among city leaders.

In all, there are four Family Dollar locations that sell liquor throughout Albany.
In all, there are four Family Dollar locations that sell liquor throughout Albany.(WALB)

“We’re still having to agree to disagree because we won’t use data. We won’t research to make these decisions,” said Demetrius Young, Ward 6 Albany city commissioner.

Young fell to the opposing side of the vote which ended in a 4 to 3 approval. He said there are currently too many liquor stores in Albany and nothing in the city ordinance that states a limit.

“It’s causing problems for those communities, especially poor communities where you see an uptick in crime,” Young said.

Chad Warbington, Ward 4 Albany City Commissioner, said they used an Albany Police Department crime to help make the decision. Family Dollar’s “high crime areas” were rejected including the two located on Slappey Boulevard.

“One of the things when I think of our depressed areas is they do need more growth, they need more commercial establishments and so if you recruit a grocery store, a grocery store is going to sell alcohol and that’s the tough choice on if we want growth,” Warbington said. “We are evaluating. We’re looking, we’re determining, we’re using data, we’re using our staff to really try and make this bet decision.”

WALB’s Lenah Allen asked Albany Police for a copy of the crime map used to help make the decision but was told they couldn’t release it.

Right now 211 Albany businesses sell alcohol -- including bars, grocery stores, and package stores. A city ordinance requires them to be more than 100 feet from schools and churches and owners must have a clean background check. But nothing in the ordinance outlines how close they can be to each other.

The addition of new alcohol establishments has stirred up a bigger conversation about alcohol and crime in Albany.

”I feel like that’s pretty crazy. I think they should just keep it at the liquor store,” said Latasha, an Albany resident. “It’s already a lot of break-ins and robberies going on.”

Some Family Dollar employees said the addition of selling alcohol will only increase the thefts they’ve already been experiencing.

The Family Dollar on Dawson road got approved to sell alcohol last year.
The Family Dollar on Dawson road got approved to sell alcohol last year.(WALB)

While a number of people oppose the decision, some are for it. Some that it will be convenient-- making Family Dollar a one-stop shop for what they buy.

Some of these responses on Facebook said “Well in other states you can buy liquor at Walmart and Walgreens. So, not a big deal..” and “Most Dollar Generals in those areas sell beer. What’s the difference with a family Dollar?”

Regardless of opinions, the City Commission had the final say. Anthony Donaldson, Chief Deputy of Albany-Dougherty Marshal’s division, said the number of alcohol establishments has fluctuated over the past 10 years.

“Until the commission makes changes to the ordinance, we’re going to see a steady flow of opening, closing alcohol establishments here in the city,” Donaldson said.

To join the conversation about the alcohol establishments in Albany, click here.