Poland business owner wants to sell beer, wine in village

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Beer and wine issues on the November ballot are attracting a lot of attention. There is a request in Youngstown that, if passed, would allow three places to sell alcohol within 150 yards. Now there’s another in Poland Village.

The village has been dry as long as anyone can remember, but the owner of Stop & Shop on N. Main Street is trying to pop the top off beer and wine sales there.

The Stop & Shop is getting a new look. It’s added 14 feet, new gas pumps and new lines underground. The store shelves still need to be stocked before opening next week.

Owner Daniel Rai is also hoping for a new attitude from the village, whose voters will decide if it can sell beer and wine.

“It’s like if you have a store with beer and wine without Coke. It’s like you will lose the customers,” he said.

Rai believes that could be 35 percent of the business. He got signatures to put the beer and wine measure on the ballot, then hired someone to help him with the campaign.

The store sent a letter to its neighbors, asking for support. In it, Rai made a point to say that they aren’t Muslims, but Christians.

“Actually, I was against that to put it in the letter, but whoever helped me with the campaign, he insists. So I was against that,” Rai said.

He was born in Lebanon, moved to Canada and is ready to move to Poland.

READ: Letter from Stop & Shop addressed to Poland residents

How voters read that line may not be his only issue. The village architectural review board met with him during the construction and talked about landscaping, signs and color.

“We agreed and he did some, but definitely not all of the things we have discussed,” said Rebecca Rogers with the review board.

Rai is just asking for the same things his nearby competition has: beer and wine.

“It’s not something that’s not available. Our competitors, everybody can sell beer and wine, and we’re trying to sell it here where the customers can go in, they can stop and shop.”

That’s a tough sell, but he’s already heard from people who support him and believe the village is ready.

“‘This is awesome. This is a good gas station. You’re doing a very good job.’ So it’s kind of a push for me, too. It’s like I need that energy,” Rai said.

Poland Village is celebrating a 150th anniversary this year. Someone said it wasn’t that long ago you couldn’t even buy milk there until the Walgreens opened.