MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- For the first time, Mountain City is on track to get a liquor store. In fact two are in the process of opening, practically across the street from each other on South Shady Street in downtown Mountain City.
Last Friday, Mountain City’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen made history by issuing two certificates of compliance for package stores.
Until last year, Johnson County was the only county in Northeast Tennessee to not allow wine and liquor sales. But that changed in the November election when a referendum made liquor stores legal.
Mayor Kevin Parsons says the reason why is obvious.
“If we can get more business that will come in and have the items that we don’t have here, in the county to where we can keep our money here and help other locals, I think that’s gonna be a big help,” said Parsons.
He says the city and the county depend on local sales tax.
Parson thinks package stores can only help improve the area, something soon to be business owner Tom Stanley says he is passionate about as a 5th generation Mountain City Resident.
“We may be in on the ground floor and actually bringing something that folks haven’t been able to in the past,” says Stanley.
Stanley is planning to renovate an old skating rink for his liquor store, Black Bear Wine and Spirits. An opportunity he says will bring value to the community.
“It’s emotional, its been considered an eyesore, but we’re in the process of totally revamping,” says Stanley
He hopes that this will only bring more awareness and investment into the downtown area.
“The folks that are downtown will see the possibilities and invest more into the downtown area,” says Stanley.
Mayor Parsons says this can bring other types of businesses to the city.
“It gives an opportunity for us to maybe have a high end restaurant here or a steakhouse. That does require us to have liquor by the drink, most restaurants won’t come in without that,” said Parsons.
Both Black Bear Wine and Spirits and Mountain Spirits certificates of compliance are contingent based on getting certificates of occupancy from a certified building inspector.
Mayor Parsons says these will be the only two liquor stores due to the city’s population.