Brandon business owner waits years for liquor license - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Brandon business owner waits years for liquor license

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A new liquor license fee has taken effect in Brandon.

Earlier this summer, council members voted 4-2 in favor of a fee increase from $8,785 to $125,000 which is significantly higher than surrounding cities of the same size.

Since 2010, Ann Evangelisto has been awaiting a liquor license to open a neighborhood bar/grill right behind Brandon First Stop, which she already owns.

She says she's jumped through every hoop, already, including paying for the liquor license.

"I never dreamt it would consume over a year and a half," Ann Evangelisto said.

But it has, because, she says, for some reason the city kept putting it off which she says isn't right.

"I think we need to promote local, small business. That's what Brandon has been thriving on for years. I think the tradition should continue and I would like to help do that," Evangelisto said.

She's had the plan mapped out for awhile. But it all comes down to Monday night, when councilors vote on whether or not to grant her the license at her original price of $8,785.

This month, the cost went up to $125,000, according to councilors, to reflect the value of the market size and its closeness to Sioux Falls.

With that, comes more competition for options, big business and growth into Brandon.

But Evangelisto just sees the new, hire fee, as a major obstacle for anyone in a town of only 9,000 people.

"It doesn't appear to be pro-Brandon, doesn't appear to support Buy-Brandon and is not an incentive for small business," she said.

She's staying positive but knows there's a 50/50 chance things might not go her way.

"It's a lot of money and I don't think I could live long enough to pay for that license, in addition to paying for everything else in the process of starting a new bar and grill," she said. "$125,000 is a game-changer, and very possibly a game-stopper."

Some council members told us the license fee increase was long overdue in order to be more competitive, driving more business and people into Brandon.

City council will vote on whether or not to grant her the license during their regular meeting, Monday night.

If it passes, she will be granted the license at the $8,785 she was quoted, in 2010.

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