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Liquor store closes, owner hopes to sell

Staff writer

After almost two years in business, E & J Retail Liquor closed at the end of the business day on Dec. 31. The establishment was owned by Rebekah Carter of Newton but managed and staffed by local employees.

Carter cited health issues as her reason for closing the store.

“I really like the small community of Peabody and meeting all of the wonderful people,” she said. “I would sincerely like to continue, but my health simply will not allow it.”

Carter declined to comment on rumors that several individuals are interested in purchasing the business.

“It is my hope that things transition quickly,” she said.

E & J Retail Liquor opened in February 2013 after Carter began checking the potential for such a business in communities around Newton. In an interview published in the Feb. 27 edition of the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin she said when she began looking for a community that could support a liquor store, she contacted Shane Marler, then director of Peabody economic development.

Marler had already investigated the financial impact a liquor store would have on Peabody by reviewing information provided by the Kansas Small Business Development Center. The KSBDC study showed that in a five-mile radius around Peabody, there was a liquor store demand of $104,500 annually with zero percent of that demand being met by a local business. The study indicated that a liquor store in Peabody would be a good investment. Carter met all the necessary requirements and background checks and E & J Retail Liquor was in business.

Peabody Mayor Larry Larsen said that losing any business is hard on the community.

“It provided an alternative to going out of town to shop for liquor and Ms. Carter provided employment for several local people,” he said. “Hopefully, she can sell the business, but if that doesn’t happen, the building has had some remodeling and upgrades and is pretty much ready for any business to move into.”

Carter was renting the building at 127 N. Walnut St. that housed the liquor store. The building is owned by Gene and Sharon Schmill of Peabody.

Last modified Jan. 8, 2015

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