If a transfer of Tower Liquors’ liquor license happens sometime this year, the business should be able to more easily transfer that license as a result of an action by the North Branch City Council Monday night.
The council voted 3-1—council member Kathy Blomquist cast the dissenting vote—to approve a license transfer.
Up until just prior to the meeting, Tower had a signed purchase agreement with JE North Branch Liquor 2012 LLC, which would operate a liquor store in County Market, but Tower terminated that purchase agreement.
Mark Thieroff, the attorney for JE, said at the meeting there has been an issue about how long the process of the transfer has taken, and that’s why Tower terminated the purchase agreement.
But he said JE was still willing to work with Tower to make the purchase and liquor license transfer happen.
Kathy Peterson, who owns Tower Liquors with her husband, said they are no longer interested in selling the business and allowing the transfer of the liquor license to JE.
She echoed Thieroff’s sentiment about the sale and transfer taking too long.
She noted Tower has been trying to sell the business to JE and transfer the license for about two years, but hasn’t been able to do so for various reasons.
Peterson also said Tower wanted to operate the liquor store at its current site off Tanger Drive while the County Market store was being constructed, but JE wanted the business to shut down as soon as the liquor license transfer took place.
She added the city has slowed the process down, and she believes there would be more hurdles to jump in order to make a sale and transfer a reality.
“I’ve made up my mind,” she said. “Unless somebody forces me, I really don’t see it happening at this point.”
North Branch City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad explained that even with vote by the council, if a transfer did happen, JE would have to get an application approved by the city and the state to operate a liquor store out of County Market.
Konrad noted if the owners of Tower Liquors and JE were to come to an agreement about a purchase and transfer, they have until Dec. 31 of this year before the action by the city council Monday becomes null in void.