Seeing lower gas and cigarette prices in the Iowa Quad-Cities, Rock Island convenience store owner Pardeep Mann looked to Davenport for an opportunity. He also has found controversy.
Mann wants to build a Stop and Save convenience store at 901 W. 2nd St. The Davenport City Council will vote Wednesday night on a beer and liquor license application that met resistance at last week’s meeting. Mann received a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Adjustment last month.
“Business owners don’t want me to come over because they are afraid of the competition,” he said.
Bobby Stansberry, a co-owner of Mary’s on 2nd, 832 W. 2nd St., spoke to the city council last week, not complaining about competition, but a saturation of liquor stores. He is part of a group that has owned the bar at 2nd and Warren streets since 2000 and says it took years to rid the area of prostitutes and drug dealers. Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, is also a co-owner of the bar.
“We don’t need any more package liquor being sold in downtown Davenport,” Stansberry said. “The area is saturated with it, and it brings nothing but crime.
“We got it cleaned up, and now they want to bring in more liquor stores.”
From the intersection where the bar stands, Stansberry said he can look in any direction and see a business selling carryout liquor.
In 2011, aldermen voted to get rid of a distance separation requirement of 2,700 feet between places that had liquor licenses, which often brought requests for exceptions. Instead, the council put more requirements on business owners.
The ordinance change required owners to keep liquor visible but behind a counter, use an electronic tag system for bottles, install a video-surveillance system, enforce a strict no-loitering policy, and allowed no more than 35 percent of the store dedicated to beer, wine or liquor.
Mann said once he gets approval from the council and his bank, he will be ready to begin construction of the new building on the site of the Majer’s Gas & Service.
Alderman Mike Matson, 8th Ward, who is the vice chairman of the council’s public safety committee, said he understands Stansberry’s concerns, but that as long as the owner follows the ordinance, there is no reason to vote against the liquor license for Mann. Boom chairs the public safety committee.
“I don’t see the saturation personally,” Matson said. “I understand the concerns of people, and if I had a business there, I would want council to look at it. But I will probably vote for it.”