The city of Grove City is appealing the approval of the transfer of a liquor permit to the new location of the One Stop Tobacco Shop.

Store owner Murad Ismail said he can't understand why the city would file the appeal.

"All we're wanting to do is transfer the permit we already had for our old location to the new location, which is right next door," he said.

"When I brought the business four years ago, the previous owner sold beer and wine. We've continued to do that for the last four years. We were granted the permit in 2013.

"Why now, after five years, would the city want to file an appeal? It doesn't make sense to me," Ismail said.

The tobacco store relocated to 3504 Broadway in February after previously operating at 3508 Broadway.

Ismail's company, Three Brothers Management, Inc., which does business as One Stop Tobacco Shop, filed the application to transfer the permit. Initial approval of the transfer was granted, overruling the city's objections. The permit allows beer and wine sales and Sunday sales.

The city received a letter on May 2 giving notice that Ohio Liquor Control had approved the transfer, Council President Roby Schottke said.

"We have 30 days from the date of the letter to file an appeal to the full liquor commission," Schottke said.

"The administration recommended appealing it and council agreed," he said, referring to the city council's 4-0 vote at a May 15 meeting.

"The main concern we have is that there is a large concentration of liquor permits in the area where the store is located," Schottke said.

"We don't feel there is a need for additional liquor permits saturating that area," he said.

"The whole corridor of Broadway, from the Town Center to Route 62 -- the city has been looking at what we can do to improve that area," city police Chief Jeff Pearson said.

The desire is to match the character of Broadway as it heads down to Interstate 270 with that of the downtown area, he said.

"There are so many places now in that section of Broadway where you can purchase beer and wine," Pearson said.

"The application to transfer the permit, even though it's just to go next door, is an opportunity for us to try to address the issue.

"It's a density issue combined with the culture we want to set for all of Broadway," he said. "We don't want Broadway to be a place that is so saturated with places to buy liquor that people begin to think of it as the place to go if you want to buy some."

Ismail said his store is vigilant about not selling any products, including tobacco, beer and wine, to underage customers.

"We haven't received any citations ever for selling to someone who is underage," he said.

The store recently purchased a scanner for $5,000 to help ensure someone does not attempt to buy items using fake identification, Ismail said.

"If one of our employees was to sell something to someone who was underage, they would be fired right away," Ismail said.

The city's appeal is "nothing personal against the tobacco shop," Pearson said.

"They haven't done anything wrong and there's no illegal activity at the store. It's just an opportunity with the proposed transfer to help impact the character we want for the area," he said.

Since its move next door, the tobacco shop suspended sales of beer and wine, Ismail said.

"We can't do it legally until the transfer is granted, he said. "It has a big impact on our business. Probably 50 percent of our business comes from beer and wine sales."

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