Sharp Co. liquor store applicants given green light to open stores

SHARP COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Beer and wine have already made itonto store shelves in Sharp County, but soon people will be able to purchase hardliquor at a local liquor store.

The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board gave fourapplicants the final approval they needed last week to open liquor stores.

One applicant, Thomas Bagwell, now hopes to have his storeopened near Ravenden by November, almost a year after voters decided to turnSharp County 'wet.'

"We're hoping to be open hopefully – if nothing goes wrong –sometime around the first of November," Bagwell said.

He plans to build T&C Sportsman's Liquor on a vacant lot,located at 3295 Highway 63 near the Lawrence-Sharp county line, with hisbrother, Terry, and their business partner, Conley Hatfield.

"We just thought this would be a great location to catch alot of people going to the lakes and rivers and vacationers," Bagwell said.

He first applied for the liquor store license in Februaryalong with 43 others. The ABC Board then held a drawing in June to decide whichfour could earn a license. The state regulates that Sharp County can only havefour liquor stores based on the size of its population.

Bagwell luckily had his name drawn along with people nowplanning to open their own liquor stores in Williford, Highland and Ash Flat.

"I think this will be a great location on this end of thecounty," he said, "because there was nobody applying for this area really."

Bagwell's liquor store will be 50 feet by 80 feet when it'scompleted, with 4,000 square feet of space inside. It will include a "beer cave"in the back of the store as well as a drive-thru window. The building will sitnext to what was once the Ozark Gift Shop on Highway 63, which will be torndown to extend power lines and make room for additional parking.

"We'll have plenty of parking for boats and people going tothe deer woods pulling four-wheelers," Bagwell said.

He believes his new business will benefit the community ofRavenden and the surrounding area. He says the liquor store will not onlycreate a few jobs but will also generate new sales tax revenue. It will alsoallow him to finally work close to home since he currently commutes fromRavenden to Mountain Home every day to run his roofing business with hisbrother.

"I think it will be a success," he said.

Bagwell hopes to break ground and start construction by theend of August. The ABC Board, however, will have to inspect the building onceit's built so that he can officially open for business.

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