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New site for W’bago license

By Staff | Mar 25, 2012

A former convenience store at the intersection of Highway 169 and County Road 109 may be the location of a new off-sale liquor store in Winnebago.

Plans to open another liquor store in Winnebago is caught up in a legal snag.

In February, the City Council approved an off-sale application for Darrel Robertson to start a business at 510 S. Main St.

Robertson says “unforseen complications” have made it difficult for him to purchase the property owned by the State Bank of Easton.

“I’m 30 days behind where I want to be. I thought we’d be able to close a deal right away,” he says.

Robertson is not waiting to see what happens and is forging ahead.

On Monday, he went to City Hall and filled out another application for an off-sale license.

This time it was for a location at 618 S. Main St. – the former Oasis Market/Winnie Mart convenience gas station.

“I have to keep my options open. The owners of the building are considering leasing itto me,” Robertson says.

Dave Schuster, owner of Schooter’s Bar and Grill and liquor store, expressed his concern when Robertson applied for a license the first time.

He says the town is not big enough to support two liquor stores.

“I’m for new businesses opening and expansion. But, he’s not bringing anything new – product or service – to town,” he says. “It will be two businesses right next to each other fighting over the little piece of pie there is.”

The city is setting a precedent, Schuster says, that anyone who wants a license can get one if they only apply.

The next step for Robertson will be to ask the council to rescind his current application and consider the new one.

Because he’s already behind schedule, Robertson has asked City Administrator Austin Bleess if a special council meeting could be held.

Robertson says he’s willing to pay the cost of holding the meeting, which would be $175.

“I don’t want the residents and taxpayers to have to incur any extra cost on my behalf,” he says.

For now, the issue is expected to be addressed during the council’s next regular meeting scheduled April 10.

Schuster hopes the council will carefully look at Robertson’s business plan before making a decision.

“I don’t know why you would do something that hurts another business,” Schuster says.

Robertson isn’t giving up hope on his first site that he refers to as “the Nichols property.”

“We’re exploring other business opportunities for that property,” he says.