And The Liquor Winners Are???


Johnny James

Jim Purdy
Not a reality show on TV has had more drama than the Loudon City Council meeting Monday night. As Mayor Sweeney prepared to read the names of the two applicants who would be awarded the certificate of occupancy  for a liquor store you could almost hear a drum roll.

Council had decided to use a scoring system to decide which applicants would receive the certificates. Sweeney announced that Ed Bell and Johnny James had scored as the top two applicants. Problem is, both had filed their applications planning to build on the same site. This was put in place by Economic Development Agency president Pat Phillips who had lobbied for the authority to sell the property to which ever applicant was granted a certificate. A long discussion ensued how it would be possible for both to be approved for the same location. But before this problem was resolved another problem came up.

Attorney Loren Plemmons representing Mr. James brought to council's attention that Ed Bell actually had failed to get his LLC. and therefore was ineligible for consideration.  This brought on another lengthy discussion by council until city attorney, Ed Arnold, advised the council that Bell's application was essentially invalid. Bell stated on his way out "I haven't lost yet." Several councilmen stated that they expected that someone would probably sue the city over the matter.

To make a very long story much shorter, when all was said and done, council voted to grant certificates to Johnny James and Jim Purdy. Ed Bell was disqualified. The two successful applicants are now clear to make application to the state for their liquor licenses.

Purdy's proposed business would be located in the heart of down town Loudon at 403 Grove Street. The property is owned by developer Rick Dover. The name of the business is to be The Grove Wine & Spirits.

James' proposed business would be located on Hwy. 72 and known as 75 Wine & Spirits.