Pilot ABC store to open Thursday

First Posted: 12/6/2009

Twenty-one months after Pilot Mountain voters approved opening an ABC store, the town is finally ready to see the operation open for business.
Marshall Atkins, chairman of the Pilot ABC board, said the store will open its doors on Thursday at 9 a.m. It has been a long time coming, Atkins said.
Pilot voters first approved the opening of an ABC store in the town in May of 2008, and the town board spent several months afterward studying whether to purchase land and construct a building for the store or to lease an already existing building.
The first inclination was to lease, Atkins said, but town officials then began looking at the advantage of constructing their own building for the store.
During this period two members of the North Carolina ABC board stepped down, and that body was not able to grant approval to any new ABC stores in the state until the two vacancies were filled, a process which took nine months.
At that point, Atkins said, Pilot officials switched back to the idea of leasing a building.
The location (of a new building) has to be approved (by the state board), he said, leaving town officials unable to commit to anything regarding the local store. Even after a site is approved, Atkins said It was going to take probably 120 days to get the building built, then another 30 to 60 days to get all the shelving in and security in place.
Given that time frame, he said it made sense to go ahead and lease a space after getting state approval in September. The board agreed to a five-year lease, which the town can buy out after three years and three months, and will hold its opening on Thursday.
Atkins said it is impossible to tell how much revenue the store will generate, and thus how much profit the town stands to make from the establishment. He said Pilot officials loosely modeled their expectations after the ABC store in Dobson, which he said generated $500,000 in gross revenue last year.
The Pilot store will be managed by Paula Jones, who Atkins said formerly worked at the Mount Airy ABC store, with Lisa Lewis serving as assistant manager. The store will be open 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at [email protected]

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