Liquor authority penalizes Granby store
Grand County CO Colorado
The Granby Liquor Licensing Authority has handed down a sentence to Marketplace Liquors near City Market for selling alcohol to a 20-year-old customer during a compliance sting in December.
It was Marketplace Liquor’s second violation in one year.
Because of the violations, the authority is requiring the store be closed for 10 days (not necessarily consecutive days) within 60 days. Another 10 days of closure will be held in abeyance, as long as there are no other violations within a year.
Marketplace’s first violation was during a police sting in March 2011, when a 19-year-old walked into the business and bought a six-pack of Bud Light bottles. Granby Police cited the then-49-year old clerk on the spot. The clerk was swiftly fired by management, according to Marketplace’s legal council Adam Stapen, of Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker and Hutchings, Denver.
The clerk pleaded guilty to a rounded-up class 1 misdemeanor and was given a deferred sentence of 17 months, with 65 hours of community service and $259 in fines and charitable contributions.
In the second instance, on Dec. 9, 2011, a second sting was conducted again encompassing all liquor-license establishments in the Granby area, according to Granby Police Chief Bill Housley.
Although the first sting in March caught four establishments selling to minors – Granby Marketplace Liquors, Spirits N Things, 7-Eleven and Harry Lemons at Silver Creek – the second sting in December resulted in only Marketplace being stung. A 20-year-old male purchased a six-pack of Bud Light, and the 22-year-old clerk, who told management she had been very busy at the time, sold it without checking ID.
She now faces a maximum $5,000 fine or 18 months imprisonment for the Class 1 misdemeanor charge.
According to Housley, none of the establishments caught during the first March sting was taken under review by the liquor authority because the sting served as a stiff warning to those businesses.
For the second time around, Marketplace faced the Granby authority on Feb. 29.
“We understand, no one wants to be standing here,” Stapen said, addressing the authority, same board as the Granby town board, “because this does not look good, this does not show good, this is not good business. No one wants to be here.”
Marketplace stepped up its internal training after the first violation, he said, and after the second it incorporated mandatory Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS training, for all employees.
The store has put up more signage and has implemented a policy to card individuals who appear to be age 40 or younger, which is stricter than the standard practice of carding individuals 30 years or younger, said the store’s manager Mike Baudendistel, who attended the meeting with Stapen and owner Andy Buettner, who publicly apologized to the board.
The business is also educating its staff on the personal consequences of any liquor violation, Buettner said.
“I want to send a signal, but at the same point I don’t want to shut a business down,” said authority board member Ken Coatney, as board members contemplated the consequences of the violations.
For a second offense, state guidelines suggest a suspension of five to 30 days, and the board has the discretion to hold a portion of the suspension time in abeyance. Some towns accept a fine in lieu of days of suspension.
The board first rejected David Miller’s motion of a 20-day closure, with five days served and 15 in abeyance. The board settled on 10 days closed and 10 days in abeyance, to be completed within 60 days, but board members Elaine Henrekin and Deb Shaw voted against the proposal. They instead preferred the days of closure be completed within 45 days.
The board agreed the days of closure would be up to the store’s management.
Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603
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