Much of the almost four hour Sheridan City Council meeting Monday night centered around Wal-Mart's request for a retail liquor license owned by Rick Howell, the former owner of Pablo's Mexican Restaurant.
After a public hearing that included members from the Sheridan County Liquor Dealers Association and representatives and employees from Wal-Mart pleading their cases on the issue, the Council voted not to allow the transfer of the liquor license.
Wal-Mart Senior Manager for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Joshua Phair, offered this reaction following the Council's decision.
Phair said that over 90% of the comment cards that were collected from customers were in favor of the transfer.
Sheridan County Liquor Dealers Association President Dennis Davis says that while denying the transfer may not have been what Wal-Mart wanted, the negative impacts of allowing it would have been far greater for the businesses that already have liquor licenses.
Davis stated that it wasn't a question of free enterprise regarding Wal-Mart's request.
If the liquor license transfer had been approved, Wal-Mart intended to build an 1,800 square foot facility on the east side of the store where the beverages and soda pop are currently kept. The liquor store would have been closed off from the rest of the store with a separate entrance and would have carried basic high volume beer, wine and hard liquor.
Wal-Mart officials said that the addition would have allowed for up to 8 additional employees to run the liquor store.