Beer, wine license requested for new grocery

WESTFIELD – The owners of a new grocery store, located in the Hampton Ponds Plaza, presented the preliminary details of their plan to include a beer and wine section to the city’s License Commission last night.
George Changathara said he and his wife currently own a convenience store at the intersection of Southampton and North Roads next to the 7B’s Bar & Grill, and have just opened a second, and much larger, store at 1029 North Road.
“We opened our convenience store and we are now opening a food market,” Changathara said. “It is much larger at 17,000 square feet and will be a neighborhood grocery.  There is no other grocery within a six-mile radius.”
Changathara said that the couple intends to apply for a retail beer and wine license as part of the business plan for the FRESHco Food Market. The facility has a kitchen and preparation area for the deli section as well as dairy, grocery and meat sections. An area has been designated as the future butcher area.
Changathara said that the beer and wine section will have a separate entrance and will be located next to the cash register and beside an area designated for cigarette and lottery ticket sales.
The grocery store operates on a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, but Changathara said the beer and wine section will have different hours of operation. The store will be closed Sundays.
Changathara said he has been discussing the application requirements with license administrator Denise Carey and that he has developed floor plans to satisfy the requirements of the commission to qualify for the malt license.
Commission Chairman John Gaudrault said the board established a policy years ago establishing criterion for grocery markets with malt licenses.
“There has to be a separate entrance.  That area has to be able to be secured, locked when you’re not selling those items,” Gaudrault said. “And it needs a separate cash register.”
Gaudrault urged the applicants to complete the license application and submit it to the commission for further review. Carey said that the city has a beer and wine license for retail sales available.
In other business, the commission approved a floor plan submitted by the Westfield Rotary Club for a one-day been and wine license. The club is seeking to erect two tents on Elm Street as part of the March 30 inaugural Run Westfield 5k Flat Fast road race. Elm Street will be closed from the intersection of Franklin Street to the intersection of School Street.
The Rotary Club has invited local restaurants to offer fare to the racers and race supporters along the finish line area downtown.
Last month the commission voted to approve the one-day malt license, but requested a “floor” plan showing a traffic pattern into and out of the large fest tents which will be divided into a service area and consumption area. The board also questioned how the club will control the consumption of alcoholic beverages, which will only permitted inside the tents.

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