Despite controversy within the community about its establishment, BevMo! celebrated the grand opening of its new State Street location last Friday.
The opening attracted approximately 500 customers before noon to the San Roque Street business and residential area. The event featured $0.05 bottles of wine with the purchase of a regularly prices bottle for those who signed up for memberships and the chance to win free gift cards for the first 250 customers.
However, the increased number of vehicles flocking to the area caused increased traffic and parking issues.
According to Kate Ford, principal of Peabody Charter School, the BevMo! customers used the school parking lot despite the store’s claims that they had enough parking.
“They’ve already used our parking lot, which is surprising because, during the hearings, they said that they had enough parking,” Ford said.
Local businesses owners also expressed concern for the new BevMo! location. According to Sam Taham, owner of San Roque Market and Liquors, many of his own customers complained that heightened traffic made it difficult for them to run their regular errands and even enter their homes.
“The traffic was really bad,” Taham said. “Police officers had to tow cars from the alleys and people were parking in residential driveways.”
While Ford is hopeful that parking and traffic issues will be resolved over the next few weeks, she still has concerns about the proximity of the liquor outlet to Peabody’s campus.
“We were all concerned about the regular tastings and the level of alcohol consumption in the area,” Ford said. “[Peabody] is an open campus and we are concerned about people buying alcohol and consuming it on the park area.”
However, both Ford and Taham remained optimistic about BevMo!’s effects. Taham noted that, while it is too soon to determine whether or not the liquor superstore will hurt his business, he is confident that his long-time customers will remain loyal.
“We did well this weekend,” Taham said. “We have a lot of support. Even people I have never seen before came in to show their support.”
Ford said she hopes BevMo! will cooperate with community needs and suggestions.
“We shall see what we shall see,” Ford said. “It’s not a perfect situation and my understanding is that they are interested in working with us.”
As of press time, BevMo! representatives would not comment on the parking and traffic complaints.