At a board appearance in Harlem on Aug. 16, Elmont Wines and Liquors successfully appealed the New York State Liquor Authority board to be granted permission to relocate to another Elmont neighborhood.
Currently, the store sits on a main thoroughfare at 458 Hempstead Turnpike. Store owners will move their inventory to 200 Elmont Road, which is in the Parkhurst community of Elmont.
A handful of residents attended the board appearance. Tammie Williams, a community activist and Elmont resident, said that she believed the decision made by the liquor authority demonstrated a disconnect between business owners and the community residents. "Residents want to support local businesses, however liquor stores should not be their first option," she wrote in a statement to the Herald. "Elmont deserves vibrant businesses that attract young professionals to live here."
When asked about the reason why the store was relocating, and what benefit it brought to the Parkhurst community, Prince Joseph, the owner of Elmont Wines and Liquors, didn't respond to Herald requests for comment as of press time.
Aubrey Phillips, the vice president of the Elmont Parkhurst Civic Association, said that he'd spoken with other Parkhurst residents to gauge their opinion about the store's move. "Our problem, as I hear it, is the new location moves an undesirable business from the business corridor to a location that directly abuts our residential neighborhood, namely Parkhurst. The residents of Parkhurst object to the relocation and as the vice president of our civic association, I agree with the residents."
Williams would like more transparency from state agencies such as the liquor authority in the future so that residents know what types of businesses are moving to the neighborhood and in turn, she can ask them directly how they benefit the community. "Only competing liquor store owners are notified about new liquor license applications," she said. "I wish that community civics and elected officials were notified as well."
Phillips said that he is supportive of new businesses coming to the neighborhood, but also thinks that they should be more in tune with what the community wants overall.
"It's indeed true that the property is vacant and needs development," he said. "It's also true that the liquor establishment does not add another liquor store to Elmont. It relocates one."
Some of the Parkhurst residents have discussed options, such as appealing the decision with the liquor authority board, or having a rally to demonstrate they don't want a liquor store in their neighborhood. Nothing has been officially been planned or scheduled as of press time.
"I saw them cleaning the property," Williams said as she'd passed the property on Aug. 20, confirming the beginning of the store's relocating efforts. "It's just not something we want in our community. We don't need a business like that encouraging people to drink. Alcohol creates so many social problems and issues. It's just not a good fit for our community."