Rossville voters agree to expanding sales of alcohol

Micah Holloway casts his ballot during voting on liquor sales on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Rossville, Ga.

Residents and visitors to Rossville soon will be able to order a margarita or cocktail with their meals and buy beer on Sundays thanks to the results of a special election Tuesday night.

Voters approved two referendums that were the only items on the ballot. The first allows the sale of distilled spirits for consumption only on certain premises, while the second allows businesses to sell malt beverages and wine on Sundays between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

The first referendum passed 87-45 and the second passed 83-49.

"I don't drink, myself, but I'd like to see something good come out of it," said Charlie Myers, who voted to pass both referendums.

Several of those who voted as Myers did echoed his hope that it will bring some much-needed revenue into the small town nestled between Chattanooga and Fort Oglethorpe. Neither of those municipalities has such restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

Another man, Glenn Taylor, shrugged and smiled when he walked out of the voting precinct.

"Why not," he said.

Certain residents have more skin in the game than others, including Paulina Martinez, the owner of La Familia Restaurant.

She described Rossville as an island with uniquely restrictive regulations, the lifting of which will level the playing field because the revenue margins on alcohol sales are appreciably higher than they are on food items.

"There were just a lot of times where we didn't have a lot of traffic and we lost a lot of business because we couldn't do happy hour," she said about the last year. "We lost a lot of business period to Chattanooga and Fort Oglethorpe."

By selling alcohol she believes she and her family can compete with other restaurants in the region, unfettered, and she hopes the increased sales will give her and her staff a welcome boost.

"I've never had a paycheck from my own restaurant. I've never had a day off. I have to serve, I have to waitress," she said. "What alcohol would enable us to do is get a day off, maybe get a paycheck. It would allow me to say, 'This is really hard, but it's worth it.' I think everybody wants that."

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.