A new Craven County ABC retail store and warehouse facility under construction in Bridgton are nearly completed and ready to open, according to the county’s ABC Board Chairman, Chip Chagnon.
During an update at the November 6 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Chagnon said the new 5,000-square-foot ABC store is 97% completed while the planned 10,000-square-foot warehouse directly across from it is about 92% done.
The new retail store will be the sixth ABC store located in Craven County.
Chagnon told the board he expects to hold a ribbon cutting soon for the new facilities, both of which are located beside the Shell Fuel Market on US 17 North in Bridgeton. Farrior & Sons of Farmville is the contractor for the projects.
“No board has ever opened two in one day so that marks us as special,” Chagnon commented.
According to Chagnon, the project came with a price tag of $5.3 million but will likely top out closer to $6 million once furnishings and IT technology is factored in. He noted that the opening of the new location will mean 90% of Craven County residents will be within a 15-minute drive of an ABC store.
“That puts us right in line with the state average in terms of how many stores we need to have,” Chagnon said.
Once the new warehouse in Bridgeton is finished, Chagnon said the existing 8,400-square-foot ABC warehouse on Martin Drive in New Bern will be transferred to the county. In 2019 the facility had an insured value of $675,617.
Chagnon said the new ABC facilities in Bridgeton mark the end of a successful year for the Craven County ABC Board, with revenues coming in at $16.7 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, a growth of 9.44% over the previous year’s sales and up from $10.3 million in 2017. Of those funds 74%, or $3,820,329, will go towards the state’s general fund, while 19.35 %, or $998,977, go to the county’s general fund.
The cities of New Bern ($83,048) and Havelock ($27,949) account for another 2.15% of the local ABC revenues, while N.C.ALE/Craven County Sheriff’s Office will get $68,253 and the NC Dept. of Health and Human Resources will be awarded $19,690. Local alcohol education programs such as CCSAP, the D.A.R.E Program and the Boys & Girls Club will get $33,000, or 0.64%, of the revenues.
According to Chagnon, 22% of county ABC store revenues come in through local liquor-by-the-drink clients such as bars and restaurants. He said under a new policy, ABC stores are now delivering directly to Craven County liquor-by-the-drink businesses.
Commissioner Dennis Bucher, who sits on the county ABC Board, said the change has been applauded by local businesses.
“Up until this year those customers, every bar and restaurant, had to go to one of our stores and pick up their liquor once a week or sometimes more often,” Bucher commented. “We’ve now eliminated that…all the product that we deliver is set aside as a separate location from our retail stores. That was a big improvement.”
Chagnon said county ABC retail stores are being upgraded with new technology as well, most notably the addition of a video program known as FLOCK in the Bridgeton, Havelock and Vanceboro stores. According to Chagnon, the device captures license plates of vehicles on the property. If there’s an arrest warrant associated with that plate the device will notify the sheriff’s office and local police.
“We’ve had apprehensions right there in the parking lot of people coming out of the store that had a warrant,” Chagnon commented.
By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.