A new convenience store could soon open on Wayside Drive, located directly between two existing convenience stores.
But many nearby residents are concerned that the area is already saturated with mini-markets, and has no need for additional stores selling alcohol.
“Most probably crime will go go up,” said Harinder Grewal, a Turlock Unified School District Trustee. “And when crime goes up, we all know it will raise public safety issues.”
The pocket of convenience stores is centered on the intersection of Wayside Drive and N. Olive Avenue. Wayside Market and Mary Ann's Mini-Market have sat on either side of Olive Avenue for many years, each selling beer and wine.
Now, a new convenience store, known as Olive Market, hopes to open directly between the two stores at 755 Wayside Dr. The new market would also sell beer and wine. The addition of another alcohol sales permit to the area would put three like stores within 250 feet of one another.
Grewal said he talked to more than 100 nearby residents about the new store.
“They are honestly worried,” he said.
In addition to the convenience stores on Wayside Drive, two other similar shops are located within a half-mile. Stop N Save is located on Main Street, just across Canal Drive, and QuikStop is located on Geer Road near Wayside Drive.
Though Turlock is responsible for licensing businesses, alcohol licenses are entirely up to the State of California. The California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control has ultimate authority on such decisions.
“We don't get to say who gets an ABC license and who doesn't,” said Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden.
And Turlock police say that, thanks to some changes in how census tracts are drawn, the state ABC no longer believes the neighborhood to be “oversaturated” with alcohol sales. That means that the Olive Market can apply for a new beer and wine sales license with few restrictions.
Regardless, nearby residents have already written nearly 70 letters in opposition to the Olive Market, according to Turlock Captain Carl Nielsen.
Nielsen has been meeting with both nearby residents and the business owners for the past several weeks. And though the neighbors may have concerns, Nielsen said he was pleased with the market's owners.
“They both were extremely pleasant and are looking forward to becoming productive members of our business community,” Nielsen said.
TurlockCityNews.com was unable to contact the owners directly, as the City of Turlock is not releasing their names or contact information, according to Turlock Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Stephen Webb.
Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson expects to write a letter of his own to the ABC within the week. As of Tuesday, Jackson was undecided as to whether his letter would be in support of or opposition to the Olive Market's alcohol license.
“We're going to definitely get a resolution quickly,” Jackson said.