“I think what you’re talking about is a bigger issue in terms of alcoholic beverages,” ward Councilor Arthur Athas told Manning-Martin, adding that he wasn’t ready for that discussion. He advised that the license would serve a legitimate need for those in his ward.
Councilor Dave Gamache stressed that the license would make it more convenient for people buying food for dinner and seeking, perhaps, wine to go with it. “I don’t think it’s going to be a niche for anything else.” He praised Pena for bringing local flavor with an ethnic flair.
“I’ve been in the store,” said Councilor Dave Gravel, who said he also works in the downtown and sees some of the things that Sinewitz has seen. “What’s going on in the downtown has nothing to do with these folks.”
Several praised Pena’s store. Delaney described it as “clean as a whistle.”
Councilor Barry Osborne expressed the hope that it stays a convenience store, rather than concentrating on the sale of alcohol. If so, he said, “I think it could be an asset.”
“This has nothing to do with ethnicity,” Manning-Martin said.
The license was granted on a 9 to 2 vote with only Manning-Martin and Sinewitz voting against it. Gravel, however, asked that the mayor recommend the number of liquor licenses that ought to be allowed in the downtown.
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.