Certain neighborhood groups do not want alcohol sold at their neighborhood Dollar General store, but the national chain is pursuing a national initiative to do just that. A company spokesperson said their customers drink beer so why not make it more convenient for them?
"No one asked if we wanted this," said Vickie Driver, a concerned homeowner with the Oxford Neighborhood Association.
"I don't think it should be in the neighborhood. There are so many liquor stores. There's one right up the street," said Willa Benford, another member of the neighborhood association.
The association is planning a picket outside the Dollar General store at 3725 N. Keystone Ave. on Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
They want the chain to withdraw the alcohol-permit application for its store that was successfully bid on last year along with 29 other permits.
"Bring something like fresh fruit or vegetables," said Driver.
The store manager at the North Keystone Avenue location did not want to talk to Fox59, but a company spokesperson out of Tennessee said the push to equip upwards of 30 Marion County stores with beer is welcomed by their customers.
"We know that our shoppers buy beer, and where we are not selling it, they are purchasing it from other retailers," said Tawn Earnest, a Dollar General spokesperson.
Four locations in Marion County have already gotten the green light from the county and the state to sell unrefrigerated beer that cannot be opened until the customer is off-site.
The stores has to undergo a lengthy process that began last year at an auction. The public has had, and will continue to have the opportunity to speak up and possibly testify about a specific location seeking a permit before the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board.
"The local board can take into consideration concerns from neighbors in the area and use that to determine if that permit is necessary, if it is desired in that neighborhood," said Corporal Travis Thickstun, a spokesperson for the State Excise Police.
Dollar General and concerned neighbors or community groups have the option to appeal any decisions made at the local or state level. They can even take the issue to court.
It is an issue that has also gotten the attention of certain state leaders.
"Most of the Dollar General's are located in low-income areas that are already wrought with challenges like substance abuse and crime," said State Senator Jean Breaux, D-District 34.
"The issue with crime, for instance, we have not seen that in our experience," said Earnest.
The Oxford Neighborhood Association is pushing back as is the Devington Communities Association, the Pike Township Resident's Association and the Crooked Creek Community Coalition.
Hearings for multiple permits will be held on Monday, and the remaining permits will be heard over the next several months.