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New liquor license possible for Dickinson

A hot topic two years ago, Dickinson is once again looking at creating a liquor license, according to a public notice posted in Wednesday's Dickinson Press.

There has been concern over large corporations and local entrepreneurs competing for the city's 17th license.

Dickinson capped itself at 15 licenses in the 1990s unless the population grew -- which it has, largely due to an oil boom in western North Dakota, officials have said.

Coborn's Inc., the St. Cloud, Minn.-based parent company of Cash Wise, plans to open an off-sale facility and grocery store in the Roers Development west of town, which jumpstarted interest in the liquor license creation or bidding process.

The business is not guaranteed to get the license, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said. Everyone who meets requirements spelled out in the ordinance will have an equal chance to bid.

"We say yes to a process, we don't say yes to a license," Kessel said.

The 2010 census clocked Dickinson at 17,787, which was just under the 18,000 threshold the city set in the '90s, Kessel said. The city is confident its population passed that mark and has increased to 21,000 to 23,000 inhabitants.

Cash Wise plans to open in 2014, Coborn's Communications Manager Emily Coborn said.

"But it is in our plans and it would be ideal to offer liquor at our store," said Coborn, who is a fifth-generation relation of founder Chester Coborn. "So we hope that through that bidding process we are successful."

Sealed proposals will be accepted until noon Aug. 13, according to the notice. The bids will then be opened and considered by the City

Commission, which reserves the right to reject proposals.

Those approved will be able to increase bids, according to the notice.

Once a business owner obtains their license, they must get one from the state, said Rudie Martinson, executive director of the Bismarck-based North Dakota Hospitality Association.

"The state kind of leaves it up to the local governing body to determine how many licenses they're going to issue and under what circumstances," he said. "The state has guidelines, but the local governing bodies are free to refine those guidelines."

The last transfer of an on-sale/off-sale license went to Walmart, which bought it from The Evil Olive Pizzeria and Bar after its closing.

Phoenix-based Walmart Media Director Delia Garcia confirmed in an email that the company plans to open a liquor store on its north Dickinson site before the end of the year.

The store plans to begin construction in the early fall, she said Tuesday in a phone interview.

There is no cap on the amount of licenses the commission may create, according to the ordinance.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206