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Caudill granted licenses for 'high end' beer, wine store on Harkness

Date: 7/17/2012

By Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW — The Board of Selectmen granted two licenses to Richard Caudill that will allow him to establish what he described as a "high end" beer and wine store at 33 Harkness Ave. next to Peppa's Pizza.

Caudill received a retail package store license to sell beer and wine as well as a retail food permit from the board following a public hearing at its July 7 meeting.

Caudill explained to the board that his store, simply named The Beer Shop, would not be a typical liquor store.

"Essentially, what I'm looking to do is set up a beer and wine store with high end craft beer, wine, cheeses and things of that nature, not liquor," Caudill said. "[It would be] something upscale, similar to Provisions in Northampton, something progressive that fits with the town."

Caudill, who spent eight years in the Air Force, admitted he had no experience with such an establishment, but pointed out that he has received his Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) certification. He added that his wife, Tatiana Caudill, went to college for hospitality management, has her TIPS certification and currently works at Forest Park Liquors in Springfield.

He also said that he has been a craft brewer at his home for some time and thinks that the East Longmeadow community would be one that would enjoy the type of business he wished to establish.

"This has been a hobby of mine for a while. I brew at home constantly and it's a fun project," Caudill said. "I just want to share the gift of beer with other people who enjoy good beer."

He added that he hoped to open for business as soon as he had state approval; something he anticipated would take six weeks. The store's hours of operations would be noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.

Randy White, an abutting neighbor, raised several concerns, including how late the store would be open.

"The one [thing] that gives me the most opposition to this license is the hours of operation, specifically Monday through Thursday," he said. "All businesses in that plaza are closed by 9:30. The five properties that are adjacent to the plaza ... comprise of medical professionals, public safety, municipal maintenance workers and myself — I'm a professional technical person.

"With that plaza shutting down at 9:30, it's very peaceful at night. I would ask that you consider balancing your business needs with the needs of the neighborhood because you are right at the edge of a residential area and a commercial area," he concluded.

Caudill said he was leaving the hours broad in a trial period to start and once he has a better idea of when business is best, they would adjust hours accordingly. He also said he would work with abutters in the interest of being a good neighbor.

White also questioned Caudill's intentions to sell lottery to which Caudill responded that the store would not sell lottery, tobacco, or act as a redemption center.

Town counsel James Donahue informed Caudill that the store must accept redemptions for any bottles they have sold and for which it accepted a deposit, but they do not have to advertise themselves as a redemption center.

When asked if he foresaw the store presenting beer and wine tastings, Caudill said he did.

"We look forward to hosting tastings of local beer and wine. In the local area, there are over 300 microbreweries and it's my goal and intention to bring them into the community," he said. "A tasting is three ounces. It's not going to be a bar scene."