NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - After almost 50 years beer is back on the shelves in North Little Rock's Park Hill neighborhood. Now some locals are hoping the beer money trickles down into the rest of the local economy.
"I think it's a neat thing, I think it was time, and I think the voters do too," said North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce President Terry Hartwick who put a lot of effort into bringing alcohol sales back to Park Hill. Even still, Hartwick admits that change will take time.
"I do have a good feeling," added Hartwick. "But is it going to happen real fast and all these restaurants change? It's been dry, as I said, for 47 years, it won't change overnight but we're getting a lot, a lot of calls, a lot of interest up here now."
Tuesday the Kum and Go convenience store on JFK Boulevard got its first beer delivery and THV 11 were there as Michael Mullens of Sherwood made the stores' first alcohol purchase.
"It helps everyone, even just having more people over here can help the pet food store across the street," said Mullens. "It's important that businesses have the freedom to sell whatever they want that's legal, it's important for them to be able to do that and whenever it can help them, as a business, grow... We have other issues but if we can start with beer sales here that's one small step."
Hartwick went on to say that the added dollars from alcohol sales will help promote economic development and create jobs in the area.
"I foresee a lot of opportunities up here for the private sector," added Hartwick. "MAPCO told me point blank that it'll add 10% to their bottom line so with that, that means they can hire more people and do more things for the community."
Hartwick said he's aware of a handful of stores and restaurants that either plan to, or already have submitted applications to sell alcohol with the state Alcohol Beverage Control Division. He also says he expects grocery stores to look into moving into Park Hill as well.