|North Adams OKs Package Store License for Ocean State Job Lot|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff |
03:56AM / Wednesday, February 10, 2021
|The North Adams location would be the eighth store to offer beer and wine in Massachusetts. |
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ocean State Job Lot has been approved for selling beer and wine.
The Planning Board on Monday and the Licensing Board on Tuesday both approved the request, pending a final OK by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
Attorney Lisa Adelman, representing OSJL Spirits LLC, said a 279 square foot space would be carved out for the retail area in the Curran Highway store and another 260 square feet would be secured and locked cage for when it is not on display.
There will not be any coolers but rather wine bottles and six-packs would be sold off shelf.
"It is wine and beer and the product that we typically engage in sales, not solely, but the primary product that is sold are closeouts or a product that is specifically made for OSJL Spirits almost like your Trader Joe's brand," Adelman said. "We have specific products that's made for OSJL Spirts.
"The product remains on pallets and shelving. And so again it's a little unique and it helps to stand out what we do as compared to some of your other liquor stores."
In response to questions, Adelman said there would be no sales of kegs and thought the largest volume sale would possibly be a magnum of wine. There had been situations where the discount chain had allowed for "choose your own" six pack but there would be nothing larger.
The area would be cordoned off during the hour on Sunday between 9 and 10 when alcohol cannot be sold and during any holidays, though the store is usually closed on those days anyways, Adelman said.
The location of the alcohol will be near the registers and will be under surveillance. Adelman said a register could be dedicated to wine and beer sales but that the clerks and salespeople tend to be older than 21 and would have Training for Intervention Procedures, known as TIPS.
"We have policies and procedures in place. We TIPS train all of the associates that handle or engage in the sale of alcohol. Typically associates are trained within 45 days of employment and that's usually from training to get your certificate to allow them to then engage in the sale of beer and wine," she said. "We do not allow anyone under the age of 18 to handle the wine, to touch or stock anything, and certainly not to engage in the sale of beer and wine."
Ocean State hold seven other package store licenses in Massachusetts with the first three permitted in 2014 in Medford, East Falmouth and Randolph.
Board member Peter Breen said he was concerned about the ownership of the chain, noting that state law requires a majority of state residents in any partnership and that Ocean State is a headquartered in Rhode Island. Adelman said the manager of the entity, an affiliate of Ocean State Job Lots, is Massachusetts resident Donna McLeod, director of recruitment and training. The manager of the North Adams store is a local person.
"Based on that setup, we've never encountered an issue, either through the ABCC or any of our other licenses," she said.
But Breen wondered what would happen if the state decided that wasn't enough, noting McLeod wasn't an owner.
"I don't want to stop the application but it's something we ought to address with the ABCC and see how they did it on the other seven [licenses]," he said. "All I'm saying is if it's been addressed, great. If it hasn't been addressed, then I guess why hasn't it been addressed. Is it a concern for us to ignore it?"
Member Rosemari Dickinson did not see why they would hold up a license based on a organizational structure that the state agency had already approved seven times before. She asked if Breen wanted to hold and call the ABCC for clarification.
"We're approving it with the information that we have. And if it is wrong, the state won't approve this," she said. "I don't like to use the word ignore it because we're doing our job. What I'm saying is, do you think that the ABCC ignored it seven times? If there were a problem with it, it would have been identified, long before this application, since they have seven establishments in the state of Massachusetts."
Adelman said the company is headquartered in Rhode Island bu the limited liability company was organized and is operating in Massachusetts.
Member Michael Obahason agreed with Dickinson that if had been approved before there should not be a problem.
"I think I am not seeing any problem, or any issues there," he said. "But I think I understand, from where we're doing our due diligence and from me I don't see any concerns moving forward."
The board voted to approve the license for 9 to 9 on weekdays and 10 to 9 on Sundays, with the expectation that the state would do its own due diligence on the application.
"I'm voting for this because I think everything makes sense, it's just that jumped out at me when you started talking about different companies," said Breen.
Dickinson said the city has a quota for five package store licenses of which this will be the third. Based on information from the city clerk, the city had a population of 12,085 as of July, 10 2021; Dicksinson said this will be the annual estimate provided to the ABCC.
The board also approved a change of ownership for Blackinton Partners LLC (the Planning Board did as well on Monday). Partner Fredric "Eric" Kerns said Francis Waterman is no longer a member but all others remain the same.
They are Benjamin Svenson, Eric Svenson and Dana Nielson of Broder Blackinton LLC, Kerns, John Stirratt and Nathaniel Stedman.
The partnership operates the real estate arm Beyond Place LLC (property including Tourists), Blackinton Operating LLC (operating Tourists), and properties owned by Blackinton Backwoods LLC and Blackinton Mill LLC.