Mount Joy Borough Council has rejected Turkey Hill Minit Market’s request to allow beer sales at its store at 703 E. Main St., Mount Joy
The vote on Monday, May 1, was split with Councilors Joshua Deering, Mary Ginder, Jon Millar, Dale Murray, Jake Smeltz and Brian Youngerman voting to reject Turkey Hill’s request. Councilors Charles Glessner, Michael Reese and Hans Seidel voted to accept it.
Millar and Murray expressed concerns about the store’s ability to enforce rules, especially when minors are present, and the possibility that a restaurant alcohol license may present unfair competition with the established family-owned beer distributor in the borough. Smeltz questioned the benefit of having another alcohol license in the borough. Countering, Reese expressed support for free market competition.
Roots Beer Distributor owner Karen Hurley spoke out against the Turkey Hill request. She cautioned that
“This could set a precedent for others, such as gas stations, to follow suit wreaking havoc on small communities and family-owned small businesses,” Hurley said. She told council, “You do not have to provide excuses — just say no.”
Hurley’s business, Root Distributor, is located at 537 West Main St., about a mile and a half from the Turkey Hill store. Main Street Mount Joy Executive Director Kim Brewer confirmed that Roots has been a valued Main Street small business since its founding in 1980.
Turkey Hill Construction Manager Tim Richards said “you have to take beer distributor comments with a grain of salt.” He said the purpose of the 2016 law allowing convenience stores to sell beer is to increase customer convenience and competition. He offered that his company will cover any local enforcement costs as provided in the conditional licensing agreement signed with the borough in October. Richards did not indicate what further action, if any, will be taken by Turkey Hill on the alcohol license request.
Pennsylvania Act 39 of 2016 allows gas stations to acquire liquor licenses. Turkey Hill purchased a restaurant liquor license from My Place Inc. in Mount Joy Township. They want to transfer it to their Mount Joy store allowing both on and off-premises beer consumption initially with wine a later possibility. In April, Turkey Hill stated that purchases will be limited to two beers for onsite consumption and 192 fluid ounces, equivalent to a six-pack, for takeout.