Store owner: 'If we don't have it they don't stop at all'

GREENLEAF, Idaho (KBOI) - Owner of the Greenleaf Store is asking the city council to repeal an ordinance from 1973 that bans the sale of alcohol. Not everyone is happy about the idea.

The council heard a public meeting on the matter Thursday night to hear what residents had to say.

Art Bailey and his wife bought the Greenleaf Store 19 years ago. At the time Bailey said the closet Wal Mart was in Ontario, Oregon.

Since then several other stores have opened up in the area, and Bailey wants to be able to sell beer and wine to stay competitive with stores that can which are about five miles away.

Art said many of his customers are people passing through. He claims that there have been several times when people have left when they were looking for beer.

"We finally decided from a financial standpoint we just need to do it," said Art. "Because everyone else has it, and if we don't have it they don't stop at all."

Art said beer sales account for about 20 percent of other small stores sales, not including the other things people usually buy including food.

During the meeting the mayor explained why the city was dry because Greenleaf was originally a Quaker settlement. When the city was created in 1973 they passed an ordinance still banning the sale of alcohol.

Some residents like Andy Weldon spoke out in favor of repeal saying while he doesn't often drink he shouldn't have to travel to another town to buy beer.

"I go to Wilder or Notus, and I would say not having beer has never stopped me from getting in my truck and going to go get it. The only difference is I don't support a local business and a local man."

The majority of those who spoke said they are against the idea of alcohol being sold. Although they mentioned they had nothing against Bailey and liked having his store in town.

"I appreciate there being a gas station I love there being a store, but I did move here knowing this was a dry town and I appreciated that also" said Greenleaf resident Susan Pempertan.

Many also expressed concern that repealing the ordinance would also lead to other businesses coming in to sell beer and wine including a bar.

The mayor said in order to serve by the glass is a different permit and would require a vote of the people.