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ABC Board Approves Ninilchik Liquor Store

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Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI
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A new liquor store will soon open in Ninilchik. The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved Ninilchik General Store's application to open a liquor store Tuesday. The owner/operator of the store, Jim Clark, says the news was a relief.

“From the outset, when we took it over, our goal was to make it a one-stop shopping environment for  our customers and people traveling through, where they could stop get their licenses, buy their bait and pick up a case of beer or whatever,” said Clark.

Clark took over operation of the store from Ninilchik Native Association in 2013.

The application to the ABC Board had been pending for around a year and it drew protest from some in Ninilchik who said they had concerns about its proximity to a school and church.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly amended their code aligning it more closely with state regulation for stores selling alcohol, which played a critical role in the store’s license approval.

In February, the Assembly amended the code, changing the method used to measure the borough required 500-foot distance between churches, schools, and liquor stores from property-line-to-property-line, to door-to-door along the shortest pedestrian route. In the case of a school, the distance could be measured from the entrance of the liquor store to the boundary of a school playground along the shortest pedestrian route. At the Borough Assembly’s last meeting in Seward the body unanimously withdrew a previous protest to the license.

Clark says employees will be working to set the liquor store up as soon as possible.

“Naturally, we couldn’t complete the construction layout, put in coolers and what not until we found out that we had the license. Well our goal is to have it open as soon as possible and certainly by the first of June, if that’s possible,” said Clark.

Clark adds the liquor store will create two new full-time jobs in Ninilchik.

Officials with Ninilchik Native Association, which remains the landlord, say there are plans to put a gas station in at the store next.