CHRISTIANSBURG – A local store is hoping to become the first business in decades permitted to sell beer in Christiansburg after residents vote on Tuesday.
Residents in the Jackson West precinct will vote on whether the sale of beer shall be permitted by Debbie L. Rush at the Christiansburg General Store, 14 N. Main St. Rush, who has owned the store with her husband Lynn for 28 years, said the sale of alcohol in the village has been prohibited for 35 years.
Residents will vote on a local option which would allow beer to be sold at the store.
Mrs. Rush’s license is a site specific license meaning beer would only be sold at the store. According to the Ohio Revised Code, a C-1 permit may be issued to the owner or operation of a retail store to sell beer in containers and not for consumption on the premises where sold in original containers having a capacity of not more than five and one-sixth gallons.
Mrs. Rush said beer would only be sold Monday through Saturday during regular business hours.
Prior to the sale of alcohol being banned, Mrs. Rush said the village had a bar that served alcohol before fights led to a ban.
“(The bar) got purchased by people that were not being as strict about behavior,” Mrs. Rush said. “My whole life that bar was there, they never had fights. They always had everything good and then all of a sudden they started getting the wrong crowd fighting, some guy was shoved down some steps, ended up dying and it was just a big trauma.”
Mrs. Rush, who lived next to the bar, said she voted to ban the sale of alcohol as fights would often spill outside of the bar and into the parking lot. Decades later, the bar is gone and the store is making the first attempt at selling beer in the village since it was banned.
“When we first bought the store, it was just a different attitude at that time and I didn’t feel it was necessary,” Mrs. Rush said. “Now small stores are struggling and we just felt this was something we need to add to get people in here. Small stores are struggling everywhere, it’s not just here and we want to remain open and alive.”
Mrs. Rush added she wants the store to remain like an old fashioned general store with the concept of having everything the community needs. She believes people’s attitudes have changed as more people stop into the store asking if they sell beer.
As part of the campaign, Mrs. Rush said the store has gone door to door seeking 135 verified signatures for the petition and placed campaign signs in the village encouraging residents to “vote for beer.”
Angie Lansing, Mrs. Rush’s daughter and the store assistant manager, said with a site specific license the store has had to stress beer would only be sold in the store and not served at the store.
“One person said to me ‘beer in the whole town, like somebody can open a bar,’” Lansing said. “I said ‘no’ – it’s just the store and it’s not draft drinks, it’s just bottled.”
If the option passes, Rush said the store would be able to sell beer after the Champaign County Board of Elections certifies the election results.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.