A local convenience store will lose its beer and wine license for a period of time after selling alcohol to a minor.
Stephens County Commissioners voted at their meeting on Tuesday following a public hearing to suspend the beer and wine license for Stumpy’s Convenience Store for a period of 30 days.
Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck said the Sheriff’s Office cited a cashier at the store for selling to an underage deputy on September 30.
The store did not deny the sale occurred.
According to the cashier, he asked for ID but was not provided it and he admitting to making the sale anyway, saying he was dealing with other people at the same time the sale occurred.
The owner noted it was a first offense and said that he has training policies and stresses the importance of checking ID’s.
Stephens County Commissioner Debbie Whitlock said she has concerns that the mandatory license suspension hurts the store owner, even if the owner had nothing to do with the sale.
“We have an innocent owner who has done everything he can to ensure that the law is followed,” said Whitlock. “And it wasn’t done, through no fault of the owner, so you have an innocent owner who is going to be penalized for something the cashier did.”
Whitlock then chose to abstain and not vote on suspending the license.
“Had I thought that you had any part of it, that you did not do your part to prevent it, I would have voted to suspend your license,” said Whitlock to the owner of Stumpy’s.
Whitlock emphasized that she does not condone what happened in any way.
The other four county commissioners were unanimous in their decision to suspend Stumpy’s beer and wine license for 30 days.
County Commissioner Dennis Bell said the bottom line is that the cashier did not check the ID.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that our younger generation stays safe,” said Bell. “I do not care how many people you were dealing with at that time, look at that ID.”
Commission Chairman Stanley London agreed with Bell, noting that when the law is broken, that individual must suffer the consequences.
In addition, Commissioner J.B. Hudgins noted that while the owner is not always there, an owner is ultimately responsible for his business.
Meanwhile, Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough noted that the commission recently suspended other licenses for selling alcohol to a minor and none of those stores have had a repeat violation.