Hess Gas Station and Liquor Not a Responsible Mix

Request for beer and wine license needs serious discussion

Last week when the Licensing Board met, the agenda was short and seemed, at first glance, to be typical.

Fortune tellers, guide dogs, and the usual smattering of liquor license applications and transfers were on the agenda.

One item stood out to me. The Hess gas station at 295 Derby St. had purchased the beer and wine liquor license for the Lafayette Market at 183A Lafayette Street. Hess is seeking city approval to transfer the license to their gas station on Derby Street. This application was tabled for further discussion and will be considered at a later date.

Gas stations selling liquor is nothing new. There are many places all over the country where you can pull in, refuel and pick up a six-pack of your favorite beer. It seems like a natural extension of our car dependent culture.

Over the last 20 years, Salem has begun to shed some of its blue collar image. One vestige of that image has not disappeared. We are a drinking town. Not everyone here drinks, but the facts speak for themselves. The old Alamo, perhaps Salem's most famous long ago "bucket of blood," may be gone, but the type of drinker they drew is still active in our community. This demographic spans all age groups, but a large percentage are of the younger variety.

There are already a myriad of issues that we deal with on a regular basis directly related to the number of people drinking alcohol in downtown establishments (and, perhaps, the amount they drink). These become . Ask the folks at about the late night circus acts. They have become used to having their 80-pound planters turned over and dumped on the sidewalk.

The location on Derby Street is a successful enterprise for Hess. They have a good volume of business and are one of the few gas stations that remain in or on the edge of our downtown. Their North Street location ensures that they have the area bracketed fairly well. 

Salem already has more than a few package stores. , Argy's Liquors, , , and are just a few. There is probably still room for another properly run liquor store in the city. A gas station is just not the place for it.

The Hess location on Derby Street borders an area of the city that draws a large percentage of our daily police calls. That would be the northern edge of the Point area. It also sits alongside the new Riverwalk where many of our chronic homeless choose to congregate. A check of law enforcement responses to that area (and the Hess address itself) would show more than a few police calls.

The last thing we need would be people driving cars late at night after imbibing at one place or another, stopping at a gas station and deciding to buy a six-pack for the road. The intention may not be to drink it as they drive, but the temptation will be there. Yes, they could stop at a liquor store, but why place temptation where an impulse buy may occur?

If Hess wants to sell beer and wine, let them, but forget the gasoline aspect. There is no place for that in Salem. You have places to drink beer, and you have places to gas your vehicle. One does not serve well with the other.

Aubry Bracco (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Hi everyone, in the interest of maintaining a constructive conversation, please stay on topic. Thanks.
REPUBLIC RISING March 06, 2012 at 06:44 PM
To Riley. Good observations. Thanks. It seems that I have been attacked and censored and some of my comments Removed. Why are my First Amendment Rights being VIOLATED? Afraid afraid of the truth? BTW REPUBLIC RISING is my person!
Aubry Bracco (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hi Republic Rising, I'm the editor. It looks like some of the comments were flagged and then disappeared when other comments were deleted by users. I'm looking into it.
Dan Faust March 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I live across the street and next to Murphys, we have enough noise down here, and its not the homeless. Please consider the downtown residents who love living here but need our sleep like everyone else.
Jared Robinson March 06, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I always wonder, what part does Salem State play in this? Is there any repercussions for students involved in issues?
john March 06, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Another topic hacked to death like the best sub topic.
REPUBLIC RISING March 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM
TO: Aubry Bracco, Thanks very much for your efforts. REPUBLIC RISING
Cwheels March 06, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Dan, liquor sales are shut off at stores that are on the up and up by 11 pm. Did you really think you would have many silent nights when you moved into a condo in a urban area,with an active night life, sandwiched in between a firehouse and a bar?
john March 06, 2012 at 09:38 PM
There is one common theme in this thread,homeless drunks. The number and location of liquor stores is secondary to that problem. The city needs to attack the problem. It starts with the shelter,weather or not you are allowed in,it still atracts undesierables to Salem. The police will not respond to calls about drunks unless they have nothing more imoportant to do and in Salem they usually do have more pressing issues. Crack down on the shelter and force the bad actors out. The bank on the corner of Wash and New Derby has as a security guard outside. This is not about package stores, it's about the quality of life being diminised by unwanted,homeless people that the shelter reaches out to. Once they are here and confirmed as drunks they are not allowed in.
Dan Faust March 06, 2012 at 10:18 PM
It's really not the homeless. They tend to be very quiet. It's people who view Salem as a watering hole, to use and abuse as they want, who are the culprits. Excessive alcohol intake fuels the bad behavior, especially noise and vandalism.
Dan Faust March 06, 2012 at 10:18 PM
There were no bars when we moved in 6 years ago. Engine 1 doesn't bother any of us, but the outrageous behavior of drunk people at 2 am is unnesasary. We don't need more noise.
john March 06, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I see it as two different problems,the party people are the late night problem and the homeless are the all day problem.Salem during the day is full of homeless,drunks,mentaly challenged,child molesters and junkies.
Cwheels March 06, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Its been a bar for as long as I can remember and I have been here well over 30 years
REPUBLIC RISING March 07, 2012 at 01:09 AM
The bar noise and drinkig and driving problems can easily fixed with a proposal I introduced over 20 yrs ago: Any alcohol serving establishment that has enternainment should not be forced to close at 1 or 2 AM right after last call and push their patrons onto the streets, instead there is no requirement to close at all, the only requirement is to stop serving alcohol at least 3 hours before they close. For those 3 hours they are required to serve, no alcohol drinks, especially coffee and some form of breakfast and the enternaiment continues. This gives an alternative for their customers and keep them out of the streets when they just consumed a rushed last call. Who cares if they close at 1, 2 or 6 AM? I think the worst time is closing 1-4 AM when most people are sleeping and can be awakened. The important thing is to keep the party going without alcohol and keep them in the club having breakfast, talking, dancing, etc. until they've sobered up and it also keeps the noise down until most people are awake. The other thing is it prevents that Last Call and Everybody Go Home RUSH of people and Traffic. Most all countries in Europe the clubs are open til morning and there is less of the problems we have. What do you think? REPUBLIC RISING MassFreeState@gmail.com
john March 07, 2012 at 01:51 AM
What country do you live in?
REPUBLIC RISING March 07, 2012 at 02:28 AM
To john, Was that addressed to me? If it was are you being sarcastic or trying to take me out?
john March 07, 2012 at 02:39 AM
It was addressed to you and I am not being sarcastic and don't know what you mean by take you out. Your plan would result in a mass exodous from the bars to the package store before closing. This is not Europe.
Joseph & Jan Landsman March 07, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Once again, everyone forgets what this is all about. Allowing a package store (the Hess station) to sell liquor after all the bars closed does nothing but provide an excuse to the "drinkers" to continue the behavior and the possible consequences; and it makes no difference who the "drinkers" are. If any one of you in this dialogue care about the city that you live in -- Salem -- think about how a new influx of tourism will benefit us all. New businesses, new attractions, added revenue for the existing restaurants AND bars, and an increased tax base. But if the new influx of these elements see Salem as a town of drunks and "anything goes," it's all in vain.
William Legault March 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
If HESS is given this license they will be not be allowed to open past 11 PM. That seems to be the policy in Salem. More importantly the neighbors and others concerned will have an opportunity for public input at a Licensing Board hearing. It is possible that their hours would/could be restricted more as the Licensing Board can impose further restrictions/stipulation as a part of the license itself. This has been done in the past.
REPUBLIC RISING March 07, 2012 at 06:03 PM
John, Sorry I thought you were being sarcastic (which w/your follow up comment you kind of are :) ). I live right here in The Republic for the united States of America - for now a parallel nation. I am also a Massachusettsan. In reading your response, fogive me, I may have failed to communicate properly - allow me to try again: Maybe anb example will clarify it best. Lets say a town says clubs have to close at 1AM in my example instead of forcing the bar to Close, instead the ordinance would say that they Must stop selling alcoholic drinks at 1 AM and Mut stay open at least 3 more hours. During those hours they should serve breakfast, coffee, tea and others non-alcoholics drinks and entertainment music, dancing, etc. can continue (clubs at their discretion can almost convert to a cafe/breakfast type of place. This is what it does - it gives their customers a good option to stay at the club mingling, etc while they sober up. Many people that leave a club are forced out and not ready (or even able) to go home and instead go to breakfast places, etc. The club made money with these patrons and now they dump 'em out on the streets for others to deal with. Who does it harm to keep the clubs open at least 3 hrs after they sold their last drink. What diff does it make if they close at 1 AM or 4 AM or later? REPUBLIC RISING
john March 07, 2012 at 06:12 PM
It's a cultural differencs that would not allow that to work. You say it works in Europe, that's fine in Europe but people will not sit in a club after they have been drinking all night and bar owners would have no interest in babysitting drunks till all hours of the night. In addition, it would require ordinance changes that would never be approved
Cwheels March 07, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Who said anything about selling alcohol after the bars let out? Stick to the facts, don't make them up as you go. Fact, No store in the city sells booze after 11pm. Fact, Stopping to get gas and a six of IPA at the same place dosent make anyone a drunk. Fact, When tourists see that they can buy beer in a gas station they will think we are just like the rest of the country.
john March 07, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Some don't seem to understand that busineses selling alcohol have established times that they have to close by. Not knowing that very important point is causing some to misread the article and think they can sell liquor past 11pm. I think stores close at 11 and bars have last call at 12 and close at 1am
Robyn March 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Would you rather have homeless people wandering around with no where to go? Lifebridge is a great resource for those of us who are not as fortunate as others. No one shoudl walk around pretending there aren't homeless people in the world!
Robyn March 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I agree Dan... I live just outside of downtown. My neighborhood (not near the bars) is more rowdy due to those people living in it than the "undesireables" wandering through.
Dan Faust March 13, 2012 at 08:19 PM
A big thanks to the licensing board for shooting down the Hess Station's request to sell liquor.
REPUBLIC RISING March 13, 2012 at 10:06 PM
TO: john 1:12 pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 People will stay where action, food, coffee, people are... most leave the club because they are FORCED OUT, then they have to DRIVE and find a place to have coffee and breajfast, etc. That would not be necessary if it was right in the club and the action continued there. The cllub benefited from the customer they should accomodate them and keep them off the street and the breakfast places that hate dealing with most club customers.
john March 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Most people leave to go home and sleep.
REPUBLIC RISING March 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM
** Aubry, Please Delete above comment somehow I coudln't Delete it. Thanks. FRAUD DEMOCRACY at work licensing a Legal Product and Charging huge amounts of "money" for a License to sell a legal product. The Supreme Court numerous times has ruled that when the Gov't takes a Right converts it to a priviledge and requires Licenses/Permits and Charges a fee for it, it is NULL & VOID as if it Never Happened. FRAUD DEMOCRACY and the Nanny State are in and into everything in our lives in violation of The ConstitutionS. REPUBLIC RISING
REPUBLIC RISING March 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM
John, I'll grant you that, but this is not for those people (even though some may stay in the club longer if the club stays open) this is an option for those that don't want to go home or are not able to go home and need to sober up.


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