By Liz Shepherd
INDIANAPOLIS — The state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission voted to deny an alcoholic beverage permit renewal for the Phillips 66 gas station and store in Warsaw during a meeting on Wednesday, July 7.
Kosciusko County’s ATC board moved to deny the renewal during a July 1 meeting. The denial was due to several violations, including the sale of alcohol to minors.
Hazera Begum, doing business as H&E Express Mart, 2518 E. Center St., Warsaw, was present at the local board meeting. At that time, Begum said the business had a violation involving the sale of alcohol to a minor. Begum told the board this violation occurred two months before the permit’s renewal and that there had been no violations since then.
State Excise Officer April Tackett said the company had violations in August 2020 and October 2020. Tackett also said the business did have a violation following the January incident, which occurred on June 24.
During the state meeting, State Commissioner Marjorie Maginn recalled the number of violations the business has for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors. She said in the year and a half that Begum has owned the permit, there have been four violations for selling alcohol to minors and seven violations for selling tobacco to those underage.
“The owner of the business, when asked what he’s doing about these sales to minors, stated that the only thing he does…there’s no training for his employees,” said Maginn. “He just…if they look under 40, then they’re told to check a permit. It sounds like they need to learn how to operate the business and not just be focused on profit, but actually be worried about the health of the public.”
State ATC Vice-Chairman John Krauss seconded Maginn’s motion to uphold the local board’s denial.
“I was unimpressed with the lacking of commitment or willingness to improve operations based on what was voiced by the owner,” said Krauss.
All members of the state commission moved to deny H&E Express Mart’s permit renewal.
The state commission’s decision is not final. Applicants can request an appeal. Upon appeal, a hearing judge will hear the case and submit findings of fact to the commission. The state commission will then consider the case and move to either approve the renewal or deny it.