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Nowadays, it's fairly common to find miniature convenience stores in the lobby of a hotel. Most stock goodies like chips and salsa for guests to purchase and then take up to their rooms. And soon, following an amendment to Ringgold's sale-of-alcohol ordinance, hotels and motels in the city can begin carrying bottles of wine and beer.

The Tru by Hilton that's set to open in Ringgold next year approached the City Council about amending the ordinance. Gautam Nanda, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Ringgold and manager-to-be of the new Hilton operation, said these sales are geared toward millennial guests.

"They prefer to just settle into their rooms with a bottle of beer or two or wine," he said.

At its Oct. 14 meeting, the council unanimously voted to start the process to amend the sale of beer and wine in hotels.

"It would basically be treated as a convenience store," Mayor Nick Millwood said of hotels' sundries operations.

To the polls

There are only three more meetings with the current council. Early voting is underway in Ringgold. Through Nov. 1, polls will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours on Oct. 31 until 7 p.m. Election Day is Nov. 5.

Nanda said staff at the Hilton would be trained to only serve guests booked at the hotel who are of legal drinking age. Hilton would require alcohol training certifications from employees before the hotel would be authorized to open, he said.

"This is a request just for the sale of bottled beer and wine in our sundry shop. There is no [bar] service whatsoever that we will be carrying on at the property. There will be no bottle opening, this is exclusively for guests to carry up to their rooms. Very, very limited service," Nanda said.

The council moved to have City Manager Dan Wright begin drafting the new ordinance. It will likely take two to three meetings before the final ordinance is voted on, he said.

In other business, the council moved forward in the process to make Church Street one-way due to a blocked line of sight for motorists. The council voted to have Wright begin drafting an ordinance and to invite affected residents and businesses to a public hearing on the change.

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com.

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