Eastern Wake News

Wake ABC Board plans to bring store back to Wendell

The Zebulon ABC store on North Arendell Avenue.
The Zebulon ABC store on North Arendell Avenue. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

The days of making runs to Knightdale or Zebulon appear to be coming to an end for booze fans in this town.

The N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission on Oct. 5 approved a request by the Wake County Board of Alcoholic Control for a liquor store being planned at 5329 Rolesville Road.

Joel Keith, general manager of the Wake ABC Board, said he hopes the store will open by the start of September, 2017, depending on how things go with permitting, construction and the weather.

“Wendell is the only municipality in Wake County not to have an ABC store,” Keith said. “There won’t be a more stopped ABC store between that exit and the beach. I don’t know of a better, or bigger, or nicer store between that store – when we get it completed – and Carteret County. We want to build something the citizens of Wendell will appreciate and be proud of.”

The store is expected to be 8,000 square feet – large enough to accept shipments directly from the state ABC warehouse. The entire site is planned to take up nearly a couple acres just north of the N.C. State Employees’ Credit Union.

The site is part of a 50-acre parcel owned by David Royster, who on Sept. 29 filed a petition for annexation with the Town of Wendell for a smaller portion. The property is contiguous to others that are in the town’s corporate limits along the north side of Wendell Boulevard.

Wendell Commissioners reviewed the request at their meeting Monday, Oct. 10, and directed Town Clerk Sherry Scoggins to check the filed documents for sufficiency. A public hearing on the annexation request will be scheduled once the documents are certified.

Royster also submitted a request to rezone the property, since it is planned for annexation, from Wake County’s highway commercial designation to Wendell’s highway commercial zoning.

If all goes as planned, this wouldn’t be the first time Wendell had an ABC store. It would, however, be the first liquor store in town in the past 23 years.

The Wake ABC Board pulled the plug on a downtown Wendell location in early 1993, ending a 55-year run of a liquor store there.

Town leaders fought three years to keep the store open. However, county regulatory officials couldn’t justify keeping it open, saying the Wendell store began losing too much money when the ABC store opened in Knightdale in 1991.

But things have changed over the decades. Keith said the construction of the Knightdale Bypass and the more recent residential development boom were major factors in the decision to return a store to the Wendell area.

“That intersection developed in 2003, and the Sheetz went in and the Credit Union,” Keith said. “It’s probably one of the best fits for us in eastern Wake County.”