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Rome City Commission to consider food-to-drink variances for two downtown establishments

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023–2:16 p.m.

David Crowder, WRGA News

Brandon Pledger with Combat Market speaks during Monday’s Rome Alcohol Control Commission meeting

The Rome Alcohol Control Commission has approved variances for the food-to-drink ratio for two businesses that want to be able to offer cocktails for their customers.

Nathan Roberts with Steel N Spirits at 409 Broad Street is seeking to have his surplus steel product sales be used to offset his distilled spirits sales, rather than the traditional food-to-distilled spirit ratio.

“It’s a small space, it is where the shoe store used to be and it’s less than 800 square feet altogether,” Roberts told the ACC. “I was waiting to see if the city would allow the exception for the size, so we would be under that threshold. Being as that ordinance didn’t go through, I’m back again.”

Roberts added that he may come back at a later date and ask for a variance for his second location at 205 North Avenue.

The ACC also approved a food-to-drink variance request for Brandon Pledger with Combat Market at 214 Broad Street. Pledger is asking for coffee, general merchandise sales, and gun sales to count toward the 50-50 food-to-drink ratio. He told the ACC that more coffee shops moving into town is having a negative impact on his business.

“On the retail side, some of the brands we carry have branched into the national realm,” he said. “Now, we are competing with places like Ace Hardware, Walmart, and Dunham’s. As a small business, regardless of what you do, we just can’t keep up with it.”

According to Pledger, there are safety measures in place for gun sales.

“We don’t allow loaded firearms inside our building,” he said. “We only intend on being open until 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. No Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday sales. Firearm sales will stop promptly at 7 p.m. If you come in and have a little too much to drink and start thinking about bad things and you want to buy and handgun, it’s not going to happen.

The recommendations to approve the variances will now go to the full Rome City Commission for approval.