ABC merger agreed to by town and county
Jackson County and the town of Sylva agreed this month to merge the entities’ separate Alcoholic Beverage Control boards. The deal means that Jackson and Sylva will share in the overall profits generated throughout the county, including those generated at the yet-to-open ABC store in Cashiers.
“It’s all going to be going into the same pot now,” explained Peggy Queen, manager at the ABC store in Sylva.
Officials from both camps seem pleased with the merger specifics, which outline a 60-40 split in the county’s favor, with a guaranteed annual $160,000 minimum for Sylva for the first five years. The state had encouraged such a merger.
“The ABC Commission likes there to be merged boards, rather than separate ones,” said Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson.
The deal replaces a decades-old 50-50 split of profits netted in the town of Sylva. And it comes at a time when a new ABC location is being built in Cashiers; there’s currently no sharing of profits outside town limits.
“Sylva stood to loose a lot of money by not merging,” said Roberson.
In addition to not sharing in any of the additional profits generated at the Cashiers location, Sylva would also lose the Cashiers traffic currently traveling to its ABC location to make purchases.
“Once that store is open, they won’t come up here,” said Queen.
Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten said county officials recognized that reality and were inclined to agree to the merger.
“It would have a real negative impact on the town of Sylva, and that wasn’t something that we were interested in,” Wooten said.
The merged body, to be called the Jackson County ABC Board, will take over operations beginning May 1. The new board will use the existing infrastructure of the Sylva ABC Board.
“Taking advantage of that talent and that knowledge would be a real asset to the county,” Wooten said.
The Sylva ABC Board currently oversees one of the more successful ABC outlets in the state.
“Profit-per-dollar, this store has been, well this past year it was number four,” Queen said.
An organizational meeting for the new ABC board is scheduled for this week. Board members were named recently — two seated by the town, and three by the county. Sylva seated Mayor Maurice Moody and Marion Jones. Jackson appointed Donald Ferguson, David Noland and Tom Albert.