Group’s look into ABC operations should come by end of the month
By Jessie Burchette
The efficiency committee that will visit the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC system will likely spend one day checking out the local operations.
The committee, made up of four general managers from other systems, is tentatively expected to be in Salisbury during the last week in June.
The ABC Board requested the review at the urging of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, who are concerned about a lack of profits from annual liquor sales totaling $8 million.
In the 1990s, the ABC system routinely transferred more than $100,000 a year to be split between the county and 10 municipalities. Since 2000, the system turned over profits averaging less than $30,000 per year. No profits were distributed in 2001 and 2006.
During the recent span, the system paid for improvements at stores, its main office and its warehouse, and it opened three new stores in Kannapolis following the expansion of the Rowan system into Kannapolis in 2005.
The ABC system turned over $70,000 to the county this fiscal year, the largest amount in seven years.
The efficiency committee that will look at local operations is a subset of the N.C. Association of ABC Boards and is appointed by the directors of the association.
Joe Wall, a Raleigh lawyer and executive director for the state association, said the efficiency committee scales its review to whatever the requesting board asks for. “They will spend as much time as they (the local ABC board) want. It’s generally a one-day process.”
The committee offers advice and has no authority to force the local board to carry out its recommendations, Wall said.
The committee isn’t connected to the N.C. ABC Commission.
The State ABC Commission offers a similar service using full-time staff, according to its administrator, Mike Herring.
Herring said the state office has not received a request from the Rowan-Kannapolis system.
“A system that size should have the resources and wouldn’t need us to tell them how things are done,” Herring said Wednesday.
He noted that most requests for assistance come from smaller systems, those with one or two stores.
Herring said the Rowan-Kannapolis system is the least profitable in the state among systems of similar size ó seven stores with sales of $7million to $8 million annually.
Herring said the N.C. Association of ABC Boards’ efficiency committee typically reviews small systems. He added that the committee has never been to a multi-store system.
Marny Hendrick, chairman of the Rowan-Kannapolis Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, said he contacted Michael Myrick of the Wayne County ABC system to request the committee visit. Myrick is chairman of the committee that serves this area.
“We swap information and have used these guys before,” said Hendrick, who served as president of the N.C. Association of ABC Boards in 2006-07.
Hendrick said the committee will follow a very specific format. He may meet with the group, but he doesn’t expect the committee to meet with the local ABC Board.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.