During Thursday night’s East Ridge City Council Meeting, a lottery was held to determine who would be able to potentially open liquor stores in East Ridge.
The winner on the West end of Ringgold Road was a fore drawn conclusion, as he was the only qualified applicant. That winner was Harsh Patel.
On the East end of Ringgold Road, the winner was Suhash Patel. His name was chosen among five other applicants who had qualified.
Both businesses owners anticipate investing more than $2 million in the businesses.
Harsh Patel’s store will be located at 3940 Ringgold Road, an empty lot on the South side of Rinngold Road that was formerly the location of Prebul Jeep a generation ago. It’s just west of the CVS pharmacy.
Suhash Patel’s location on the East side is located at 6009 Ringgold Road, the northwest corner of Spring Creek and Ringgold Road where Don Juan’s restaurant is currently situated.
After the drawing, City Manager Chris Dorsey said the next step is to meet with the two winners of the lottery to issue a “certificate of compliance” at the first council meeting in May.
Now the winners must get approval from the state to get a license for a liquor store.
According to the 36-page East Ridge Liquor Store Ordinance, the winners now have six months in which to make significant progress in building the stores. If they fail to do so, two three-month extensions could be granted.
During an April 15 city council workshop dealing with the liquor store applications, both of the sites met all requirements. Those included a minimum of 4,500-square feet of retail space on the West end store, a devoted stock room, and ample parking. On the East end, a minimum of 7,000-square feet of retail space was required.
During Thursday’s council meeting, a representative from the city’s auditing firm performed the duties of drawing. Each applicant, a total of six on the West end, had an envelope that was assigned a number. Ping pong balls were numbered and placed in a fish bowl for purposes of drawing.
The ping pong ball was then plucked from the bowl with Suhash Patel being the winner.
There was no drawing on the East end, as only Harsh Patel’s application met the criteria.
A total of 18 applications were submitted for review by city staff. During the April 15 city council workshop, that number was culled to eight.
Many of the applications did not have ample parking as required by city codes or the site was in a flood plain or flood way.