The meeting of the City Beer Board on Thursday was mired with applicants being confused and lacking needed information. Bertha Lawrence, administrative assistant for the regulatory bureau said that after she makes sure that someone seeking a beer license has everything that they need, those people have to be responsible for themselves. Everybody has to go through the same process and read the information in the packets and call the phone numbers that are given.
To obtain a license to sell beer from the city of Chattanooga, the first step is completing an application from the regulatory bureau.
The applicant is handed a packet of materials that give detailed instructions of what the city requires and how to go about gathering the information. Officer John Collins said that he makes it a point to go over these packets and explain the process step by step. There is a separate sheet of instructions that he said he goes over with the individual making the application, so he said there is no excuse for someone not understanding what needs to be done.
Another issue that beer board members face is the language barrier that takes up a lot of time for both sides to understand what is being said. Beer Board member Dwight Smith suggested that people who have trouble with the English language bring an interpreter. Board member Christopher Keene suggested passing on an application until a future meeting if understanding poses a problem.
On Thursday, five convenience stores were approved for a carryout beer permit, but one will not be able to sell beer until questions have been answered. Roger Quick Stop, 1408 E. Main St., has a new owner Yahya Alammari. He has a business license for this location, and was approved for a beer permit on Thursday before he mentioned that the store had been stocked with beer for two months but he had not sold it. He said he was ready to begin selling it immediately.
The language barrier complicated understanding of the problems including how he bought beer before he had a beer license and where it came from. In the past, Mr. Alammari has had beer permits for two other businesses and had never surrendered the licenses. The permit from the previous owner of Roger Quick Stop was not left at the store when it was sold. Before physically issuing Mr. Alammari a new permit, the issue of having beer prior to having a license will need to be settled by Officer Collins and Assistant City Attorney Melinda Foster.
Other convenience stores that received physical beer permits on Thursday for selling carry-out beer are Sunrise Market #49, 3131 S. Broad St., which has been bought from Mapco and Bawse Market, (the southern way of saying “boss”), at 23 Cherokee Boulevard. Ria’s Mart #2, 203 E. Main St., and Ria’s Mart #3, 439 E. M. L. King Boulevard, one owned by wife, Niru Chaudhari, and the other by her husband ,Sandipkumar Chaudhari, were both approved.