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Church fights to keep beer and wine from being sold at store next door

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 18 2014 10:23:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 19 2014 01:04:40 PM CDT

A church in Damascus, Va. is fighting to keep alcohol from being sold at the Dollar General store next door.

DAMASCUS, Va. -

A church in Damascus, Va. is fighting to keep alcohol from being sold at the Dollar General store next door.

We're told the store applied for a license to sell beer and wine last January and shortly after, the church filed their objection.

The Laurel Avenue Church of Christ is right next to the Dollar General in downtown Damascus.

"Just a brick difference between our building and the Dollar General store and they're connected by that brick," said Pastor Wayne Baker.

Baker told us when it comes to the issue of alcohol, however, the two couldn't stand farther apart.

"We're biblically opposed to the consumption of alcohol," he said.

The Dollar General, on the other hand, wants to start selling beer and wine.

The church's religious beliefs and close proximity to the store aren't the only reasons they don't want the Dollar General to sell alcohol, said Baker.

"A mile and a half within the city limits there are nine alcoholic establishments and that's enough," said Baker. "You don't need any more."

We were told local workers at the Dollar General could not talk on camera about the store's decision to apply for an alcohol license but a corporate spokesperson did release a statement. The company said they want to respect the community's concerns.

The statement read, in-part,"Dollar General's policies include I.D. check requirements for all alcoholic beverage purchases, zero-tolerance for sale to minors, no sales of single-serving beer and no on-premise consumption."

You can read the full statement below.

Dollar General's corporate spokesperson also told us they already have four stores in Washington County, Va. that are licensed to sell beer and wine.

Damascus resident Larry Riddle told us he's not worried about the Damascus store being added to that list.

"We walk into the grocery store and there's beer and wine," Riddle said. "We go into the convenience store, there's beer and wine. I mean it's there, it's not something we're going to be able to avoid."

Church members, however, said they'll continue to fight the issue until the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control makes its decision on the license. There will be a hearing about this issue on Tuesday, April 22 at the ABC office in Abingdon.

Statement from Dollar General:

"In keeping with Dollar General's business model of providing value and convenience to customers everyday, we have recently applied to make beer and wine available for purchase at our store on West Laurel Avenue in Damascus.

Dollar General is committed to the responsible sale of alcoholic beverages. In support of this commitment, all Dollar General employees are required to complete responsible alcohol sales training. Dollar General's policies include I.D. check requirements for all alcoholic beverage purchases, zero-tolerance for sale to minors, no sales of single-serving beer and no on-premise consumption.

Dollar General is respectful of community concerns and is committed to helping customers save time and money everyday on their purchases with us."