published Friday, June 20th, 2014

Beer and Wrecker Board punishes gas stations for underage beer sales

Three local gas stations were punished for selling beer to minors during Thursday's Beer and Wrecker Board meeting.

Board members flat-out revoked the beer license for Big K-Market at 909 Dodson Ave. after the gas station sold to a minor sent in by Chattanooga police.

The gas station had sold to minors twice before, once in 2007 and once in 2008. No one from the company showed up to represent the store during the meeting, and board member Karl Eperson said the past violations showed a pattern of illegal sales.

"With three violations, they should know by now," he said. "I think we need to send a strong message. This is really a bad situation here."

The license was revoked immediately and Big K-Market can no longer legally sell beer.

Two other gas stations were cited during Thursday's meeting. Top of the Line Tobacco Mart, at 424 East M.L. King Blvd., received a seven-day suspension for selling to a minor. It was the store's first violation.

"We made a mistake that day," owner William Nelson told the board. "I take full responsibility."

Finally, the Shiv Food Mart at 631 Signal Mountain Road was given a 30-day suspension for selling beers to two minors, just minutes apart on June 12.

Police sent two minors into the gas station, and each purchased a beer. The cashier did ask for the buyers' IDs and looked at them, but still sold the beer, police said.

The board opted for a 30-day suspension in large part because two minors were able to purchase beer.

"This is a flagrant violation," said beer board member Christopher Keene. "What would have happened if the police brought 10 minors down there? Would they have sold 10 beers?"

Both suspensions will start on June 26.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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