Graham Wet Says Allow Alcohol Sales

Graham Wet Says Allow Alcohol Sales

A group calling themselves "Graham Wet" wants retailers in Graham to be able to sell alcohol, and they're pushing for a measure on the November ballot to do just that.
For over 100 years, the City of Graham has been dry.

If residents there want to buy a case of beer or a bottle of wine, they have to make a 40 minute round trip to another town.

"Every single town, is a business," said Mike Elmore, Spokesman of Graham Wet, "every town, just like government, just like State and everything else like that, and this is revenue that we've been giving away for years."

Elmore said by allowing Graham residents to purchase alcohol in their own town, the City will grow.

"We have the world's largest downtown square in the United States," said Elmore, "and I promise you, if you drive by that at 8 o'clock at night it's basically dead. There's more things that we can use for that."

Elmore said in addition to helping downtown, alcohol sales could also help places like the Young County Arena and area restaurants as well, whose customers have to buy memberships in order to drink alcohol.

In Graham, there are about seven places where people can go after work and grab a cold beer or glass of wine.

To drink in one of those places, however, it could cost up to $25 a year for a membership.

Some restaurants like to pay that cost for their customers, but that generosity costs them about $10,000 every year.

Viktor Prenushi has operated Vetoni's Italian Restaurant in Graham for 15 years.

He said he feels obligated to pay for his customers memberships, so they can enjoy their meal.

Although, if Graham were wet, Prenushi said he'd have more money to invest in his business.

"I could maybe put in new chairs, half of my chairs are falling apart," chuckled Prenushi, "or new tables. Or [I] could invest in something better for my restaurant to have a better atmosphere for my customers."

It's that message of community reinvestment Mike Elmore said he's trying to educate people about. So that he, and the other residents in Graham, can enjoy what he says most other Americans already do.

"There are responsible people out there, I just don't want the citizens to think a few of what I call idiots--and I'll say it proudly, the idiots,--don't let them ruin it for the rest of us," said Elmore, "don't let them take away our civil liberties."

"If I choose to buy a bottle of wine," Elmore continued, "I should be able to do that."

Elmore said Graham Wet needs 1670 signatures to get their measure on the November ballot. He added the citizens of Graham should have the right to vote and decide for themselves where they buy their alcohol.
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