Liqour selections

Spring Grove City Council Discusses Municipal Liquor Store Again This Year | Government

Editor-in-Chief, The Caledonia Argus

A lengthy discussion between Spring Grove council members and townspeople on the topic of the Corner Bar took over again at the regular council meeting on Tuesday, December 21.

The question was “Should the city have this municipality?” Does this benefit the city?

At the end of a lengthy discussion, council members took no formal action on the matter, but considered verification numbers and the possibility of offering more liquor licenses if The Corner Bar ceased to operate. to exist. Cities that have a municipal liquor store are only entitled to one liquor license.

In October, Pat Longmire, owner of Red’s IGA, asked the board to review the past five years of profit and loss and gross sales. These figures were presented on December 21. Gross sales have fluctuated constantly between $ 400,000 and $ 450,000. Profit and loss figures have trended downward from $ 46,769 in 2016, $ 25,473 in 2017, $ 11,145 in 2018 to $ 5,779 in 2019, followed by a larger loss in 2020 (16,515 $ less) and since the start of the year in 2021, $ 7,376 less.

Longmire said that if he had the ability to get a liquor license from the city, he would be able to offer a wider selection of liquor and increase in-store sales. That, along with the Sunday hours, would deter more people from traveling out of town for alcoholic beverage choices, groceries, gasoline, and restaurants.

In the future, Patrick and Jayme Longmire plan to open a brewery in Spring Grove. This would be separate from Red’s IGA, in terms of location and ownership. The council has granted Fat Pat’s Brewpub a license to sell alcohol on sale (brew bar) and off sale for Fat Pat’s Brewpub & BBQ (including Sundays). This gives the brewery permission to sell its own products.

Residents present agreed with the Longmires. Jana Elton said she used to go to the Corner Bar and spend the money, but recently “the mood has gone down so much”. She says she checks the Spring Grove selection first and if her drink of choice isn’t found there, she usually goes to the Caledonia municipal liquor store. Elton said she asked manager Joe Kessler if he could bring in certain products.

Kay Cross said she would rather invest in Spring Grove’s future by buying local and not leave town to find a product. She noted that the wine selection was limited.

Dayna Burtness Nguyen supported these thoughts and added that she would like the Longmire family to continue to be entrepreneurs, as they have expanded the grocery store to include a cafe and a weekend dining option.

From a city council perspective, Mayor Scott Solberg reminded audience members that the government is moving slowly. He added that the alcohol’s interior had been updated, in addition to new exterior paint and signage.

Liquor store funds recently purchased a new side-by-side building for the fire department, and in the past, improved parks and recreation facilities have benefited other municipal departments and purchased additional fire service equipment. It eases the burden on taxpayers.

In addition, the liquor store is expected to suffer a loss two out of three years before the council can hold a public hearing, possibly vote and / or decide to close or keep it open. All of these decisions take longer, including the sale of inventory, fixtures and the building if it is closed.

After more discussion, the board unofficially agreed to wait for the 2021 audit numbers, speak to the League of Minnesota Cities and lawyers about the process and timeline, changes to ordinances, potential structure of liquor license, then possibly hold a public hearing in 2022. No formality of measures were taken at the December 21 meeting and no public hearing was scheduled.

Board members and the Longmire family both agreed that it would be in the best interest to keep the liquor store open while the brewery project and eventual opening are underway. The exact dates were not available for the opening of the brewery.

Solberg thanked members of the audience for the respectful conversation and enjoyed the honest, calm and frank discussion.

The board held its annual Tax Truth meeting. No resident spoke during the public comments. The board approved an increase of just over 3% and the total withdrawals for 2022 to $ 650,000.

The board approved a letter to the prosecutor for two citations issued for junk vehicle art violations to JC Nerstad and Jon Sylling. The letter asks the lawyer to close the case, as the two violations had been brought into compliance. The board agreed that the two issues were brought into line.

The council authorized walking inside the Fest building in January, February and March. The building will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Current Covid-19 protocols will be in place. Participants are requested to register and wear clean walking shoes. Last year, more than 200 people used the space for exercise.

The council also authorized the pickleball team to use the Fest building at no cost. Rented events will take precedence over the pickleball team, and they will need to store their equipment outside of pickleball hours.

In a letter of support from Darla and James Hunzeker, pickleball is an activity for all ages and many people have expressed an interest in playing the game. They have taken precautions to ensure that no damage is caused. on the floor or on the walls of the building, they wrote. City staff said they found no damage after pickleball played last year, minus two tiny corner marks for the field.

Pavé Hotel Project

The board has approved a resolution that will request a deposit of $ 10,000 to cover agreement expenses such as processing fees, contracts, legal work and the like to bring the Cobblestone hotel group project to fruition.

Throughout 2021, the city and the EDA have communicated with this particular group about building a 35- to 40-room hotel near the Swim Center. The filing notice comes from the city’s financial adviser, Mike Bubany, and the goal is not to leave taxpayers in charge of expenses that do not benefit the city, such as an impact study.

The city will have to return any unused funds if the hotel becomes a reality.

The council approved Harlee Gavin as the manager of the swim center for the coming summer, as long as the city did not need to post for the job. Amundson said she will make sure it doesn’t need to be displayed.

Also mentioned, but no formal action has been taken, a Spring Grove 2030 committee outcome will materialize in 2022. The goal is to implement a restaurant equipment loan program in the hope of attracting and to choose another option for dinner in Spring Grove. An official press release is expected in January.

The next Spring Grove City Council meeting will be on January 18, 2022 at 6 p.m. at 168 W. Main St.