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Spanish Town residents against stores alcohol expansion

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BATON ROUGE - Spanish Town is known as a laid-back, peaceful Baton Rouge neighborhood, and some residents feel the sale of packaged liquor in the area could jeopardize that.

Taylor Blanche recently purchased Capitol Grocery on Spanish Town Road and Seventh Street. He's applied for a packaged liquor permit, which would allow him to sell wine and hard liquor.

Spanish Town resident Darryl Gissel said he feels the permit could threaten their neighborhood's quality of life.

"We need to be protective of the quality of life we have, and we need to make sure that if indeed a packaged liquor license is given that the quality of life in the neighborhood is not affected in any way," he said.

The store already sells beer, but residents are worried the sale of harder alcohol might bring in the wrong crowd.

"Alcohol can attract things that you don't necessarily want. That's just one of the issues. If it can survive without that packaged liquor, and packaged liquor creates a concern for the immediate neighbors, then why do it?" Gissel said.

Blanche says his store could still survive without selling package liquor, but it would help him keep up with his competition in the area.

"People say 'Oh, I hate to admit it... I just went to Downtown Grocery and got the items that I would have got at your store, but they also had my pint of vodka,'" he said. "Everybody in this neighborhood that is opposing could walk here in five minutes and have a very friendly conversation with me, and I'm completely open to that. One out of ten of those people respectfully came and had a conversation with me."

In the end, Blanche says his vision is all about making the community and his store better.

"We're just trying to make it to where five years from now all we're talking to people about is how much this place has forwardly progressed in a way that has really promoted the better interest of this neighborhood," he said.


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