Fate of former ABC store in question

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó Linda Lowman, chairman of the Rowan/Kannapolis ABC Board, questioned Wednesday the future of the former ABC store in Spencer.
Lowman’s questions were raised during the ABC board’s monthly meeting.
She said when the ABC system closed its store in China Grove about 10 years ago, she helped with the process and was told by members of the N.C. ABC Commission that the property must be sold immediately.
Lowman said she was told at that time that ABC systems were not in the business of maintaining rental properties.
But that’s exactly what they’ve been doing in the two years since the ABC store in Spencer was closed, Lowman said. Force Fitness has rented the property on Fourth Street since the ABC store vacated the premises.
“Right now, we’re sort of out of compliance,” Lowman said Wednesday. “It is going to have to be sold.”
No action was taken on the matter Wednesday, though board members said they’d likely consider the issue in the near future. Terry Osborne, general manager of the ABC system, said Mike Herring, administrator for the N.C. ABC System, was advised of the situation concerning the Spencer store before the building was rented.
Osborne said the reason the ABC system maintained ownership of the Spencer building was in the event plans for the High Rock Raceway came to fruition and demand for a liquor store in the area increased.
“That’s what it was based on,” Osborne said of the reason the store was not immediately sold.
In other matters handled at Wednesday’s meeting, board members:
– Received from Lowman a proposed revamped travel policy for Rowan/Kannapolis ABC employees. In August, board members voted to ban out-of-town travel for those workers after questions arose concerning their trips and expenditures.
Lowman said she studied the travel policy of the ABC system in Gastonia while writing the proposed policy for Rowan/Kannapolis system. Lowman said she’d present the policy for the board’s consideration when members meet in October.
The policy that Lowman said she plans to propose includes:
“An employee traveling on official ABC business is expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds. Excess costs, luxury accommodations and services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official business are prohibited.
“Any and all travel must be approved in advance by the entire board and must include location, length of and reason for the travel. No exceptions.
“Nothing shall be charged, paid or reimbursed for snacks, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, clothing, medicine, personal care items, personal telephone calls, traffic violations, parking tickets or personal vehicle repairs and/or maintenance.
“Nothing shall be reimbursed for costs incurred for family members.
“Abuse of this travel and expense policy can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”