Though Dacula residents will have to wait one more day to learn who will be granted the license to operate the city’s first package store, they had the opportunity Wednesday night to learn more about the applicants.
The three applicants -- WeaverDCB, LLC (Heather Weaver), Beverage Warehouse of Dacula LLC (Mike Korom) and Jay Shree Jala, LLC (Peter/Hetel Thakkar) -- were given 15 minutes each to give a presentation to the Dacula City Council explaining why he or she should be selected as the licensee.
The presentations, along with the application packets, will be scored by the council members. The council will meet Thursday evening at 6 p.m. to decide which of the applicants will be awarded the license.
Self-employed equipment distributor and former county commission candidate Mike Korom openly admitted that he has no prior experience in the liquor business.
“But what I can tell you is that I’ve been in the business of dealing with people -- selling, ordering product, paying bills,” Korom said.
Korom, whose background includes work as a sales manager and market development manager, plans to keep running his current business, but will be heavily involved in the operation of the package store should he be chosen as the licensee.
“I’ll have to give up my golf game,” he said in response to a question from Councilwoman Sue Robinson regarding whether or not he had time to devote to a second business.
Korom plans to hire another person to manage the store, which would be located at 2590 Winder Highway. That person also has no experience in the liquor business, but has worked with Korom in previous ventures.
After Korom’s presentation, the council members were given the opportunity to ask questions, the most pointed of which came from Councilman Hubert Wells.
“Did you contribute in any way to further the drive for the package store referendum or, after the referendum passed, did you in any way campaign for the passage of the 'yes' vote for the sale of package distilled spirits to be consumed off premises?” Wells asked.
“I’m a little confused by the question,” Korom replied.
“Did you do anything to help get the referendum passed or the vote passed?” Wells reiterated.
“I guess … I think we both know the answer to that,” Korom responded. “I’m trying to understand what, with that question, what the intent is.”
Korom explained that he was not involved in the petition drive or campaigning for the referendum and that it was his understanding that participation in the petition drive would have no impact on who was chosen as the licensee.
“I’m trying to understand the pertinency [sic] of the question,” Korom said. (See the video for the rest of the exchange between Korom and Wells.)
Peter Thakkar, owner of the Dacula Exxon, has 20 years of experience in the convenience store business, including experience in beer and wine sales.
Thakkar said he was the first person to obtain an alcohol license in the City of Dacula and was the first person to sell alcohol in the town.
“I have confidence I can run the liquor store operation very successfully,” he said.
Thakkar added that he will be involved in the day-to-day operation of the store and believes his proposed location, at 3275 Old Peachtree Road, is the best of the three locations in terms of access and convenience.
When asked by Councilwoman Sue Robinson if he intended to keep running his three existing businesses, Thakkar said he would likely sell one of them if he were chosen as the licensee in order to devote more time to growing the new business.
“I enjoy the business,” Thakkar said. “I’m not doing it for the money … you enjoy the money, but we enjoy the business -- especially retail business. That is what I’ve done all my life.”
To Councilman Wells’ question regarding whether or not he contributed to getting the referendum passed, Thakkar simply replied, “No sir.”
Heather Weaver and her husband Russ are co-owners of The Bottle Shop, a package store in Madison, Ga.
The Weavers opened their store in 2006 and, according to information presented to council, the business has experienced double-digit percentage growth each year in a depressed economy, increasing both revenue and profit.
“We bring with us specific industry experience that we can apply to make our business successful,” Weaver said.
If chosen as the licensee, the Weavers plan to build their store near the corner of Old Peachtree Road and Hurricane Shoals. According to the Weavers, that location would be furthest from the heart of downtown Dacula and Dacula schools and is the best location for attracting business from the Hamilton Mill, Apalachee Farms and the Mill Creek area.
Russ Weaver, who has 10 years of experience in package store retail sales and management, would manage the store.
“We have an unblemished record,” Russ Weaver said. In addition to outlining their previous experience in the liquor business, Russ Weaver presented council with financial statements which he said demonstrated their ability to “build, stock and run Dacula Cork and Bottle for years to come.”
The Weavers plan to move to Dacula if chosen as the licensee and are the individuals behind the successful petition drive that brought the package store referendum before the voters in November.
If selected as the licensee, the Weavers said their store would open its doors in October.
You might also be interested in reading:
- Three Submit Applications to Become Dacula's First Liquor Store Licensee
- Petitioner Obtains Enough Signatures for Package Store Referendum
- Petitioner: Dacula Package Store Would Be ‘Finest Store in Georgia’
- Dacula Election Results 2012: Package Store Referendum Passes
- If You Build It They Will Come ... and Buy Liquor!