Ban on single beer sales lifted for Gilbert 7-11 - East Valley Tribune: News

Ban on single beer sales lifted for Gilbert 7-11

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Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:47 pm | Updated: 3:15 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The 7-Eleven at Elliot and Cooper roads in Gilbert looks a lot like any other convenience store with its eight gas pumps, candy aisles and soda fountains.

However, peering a little closer, one will notice a few key ingredients amiss for a typical gas mart. Classical music pipes through the speakers, there's no pay phone outside and there are no adult magazines behind the cashier's counter.

The store lacks one other staple - single cans and bottles of beer.

Come Tuesday, that will change when the store starts selling 12-, 16-, 24- and 32-ounce beers for the first time in its decade-long history.

The change was approved last week by the town's Planning Commission, which was responsible for the ban along with 18 other conditions in a permit granted to the store when it opened.

The permit also stipulated the store play classical music on weekends and ditch the adult magazines and pay phone.

At the time, surrounding neighbors were concerned about the type of people the store would draw into the area.

"For a while there, we were the only store in the state with this restriction," said Joseph Ripsam, who owns the 7-Eleven with his wife, Carol.

Over the years, the ban put the quick mart at a big disadvantage as the owners saw more and more competition, he said.

"Singles (servings) for a convenience store - whether it's candy or milk or soda - that's where the profit is," Ripsam said, adding he doesn't want to sell the skin magazines and has no problem with the other conditions.

So, about six months ago, he approached 7-Eleven's corporate officials, who went to work convincing the town to lift the ban.

Unlike the Ripsam couple's first go-round, only one resident showed up to contest the change.

"It's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned," said Karl Kohlhoff, a member of the Planning Commission, who voted in the couple's favor. "Every other convenience store has the same capability."

Ted Slavin, an area resident who walked out of the store Thursday afternoon with two six packs of Dos Equis beer, said he's not concerned about the change.

"You should have the right to buy what you want when you want it," he said. "It doesn't bother me one bit."

Erin Bellerive, who lives near the store, disagrees.

She's worried that the change will attract homeless people and others who could present a danger.

"I've got a little sister," she said. "The last thing I want is for something to happen to her."

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