By Jesse Wood
If you’ve bought a bottle in the Blowing Rock ABC store lately, you probably noticed a crack-and-peel label on the brown bag thanking customers for shopping.
“The Blowing Rock ABC Store appreciates your patronage very much! By buying here, you are helping contribute to the community and those that provide the services we all enjoy,” the label reads.
In the fiscal-year 2015, the Blowing Rock ABC store brought in $1,486,311 and ended up giving back – or rather, “investing back” – more than one-third of the revenues to the community.
Of the donated $532,000, the Town of Blowing Rock received $160,000, Watauga County received $3,500 and the State of North Carolina received $360,000 – in addition to the $7,800 given for alcohol education grants, according to the brown bag and Edith Nations, the manager of the Blowing Rock store.
“Basically, this is just telling [customers] where our money goes,” Nations said, adding that the ABC store is considered a nonprofit. “A lot of people are unaware of it. They don’t realize that a lot of the money goes back into the communities.”
John Massimo, Blowing Rock’s ABC officer, said that ABC revenue has been used to pay for roadside alcohol sensors, alcohol education and possibly D.A.R.E. activities in the past.
As Blowing Rock’s ABC officer, Massimo is tasked with conducting random inspections on establishments and restaurants that serve alcohol to make sure they are in compliance with age-limit laws and that bottles have the appropriate tax stamps.
As for alcohol-related problems, Massimo said, “It’s pretty quiet here. We’ve had some things that alcohol ends up being a factor, and the biggest-thing crime wise is DUIs.”
Quieter than it used to be before voters in the Town of Boone, which, of course, includes Appalachian State University, approved liquor-by-the-drink in 2008 by a 73 percent margin.
As for the annual ABC revenues, Blowing Rock Town Manager Scott Fogleman said those support the town’s general town operations, such as police, fire, public works and general government operations.
“The last couple of years, the ABC Board has made additional distributions to the Town,” Fogleman said. “For example, the ABC Board contributed $65,000 above their typical distribution of funding to the Town to support the renovation of the American Legion Building.”
Here are the total annual revenues for the past five years, according to Fogleman:
- FY-2015 = $1,486,311
- FY-2014 = $1,421,688
- FY-2013 = $1,345,449
- FY-2012 = $1,401,833
- FY-2011 = $1,362,643
According to Nations and the annual revenue reports, which you can see by following the link below, the Blowing Rock ABC store distributed to the Town of Blowing Rock above-and-beyond what it is statutorily obligated to do.
Statutory distributions listed were $5,437 for law enforcement; $7,612 for alcohol education; and $125,400 to the local government. It paid nearly $309,555 for state excise tax and a total of $363,845 taxes in all.
The store posted a $148,935 profit before distributions, which amounts to a 10 percent profit rate.
See annual revenue reports of the Blowing Rock ABC store and other ABC stores in the state here.