Special Liquor Licenses Incentivize New Business, New Development in Sault Ste. Marie

For new businesses obtaining a liquor license can be a struggle, but the city commission in Sault Ste. Marie is making sure two new businesses will be able to get a special license.

It’s part of a state program that allows businesses with plans to rehab historic buildings to apply for what’s called a “redevelopment liquor license.”

Historic downtown Sault Ste. Marie, at the moment, is historically slow, many of the buildings remain empty.

The city is hoping these special issue liquor licenses can help make the downtown a place to be.

“You do have four, five key spaces that are downtown that are not utilized because of the cost to fix them up and the fact that you’re limited in what you can do,” Craig Cooper, said.

Alcohol can’t solve your problems, but in the Sault, it could help solve the problem of empty storefronts and wasted space.

“I believe there is potential but right now it needs some help,” LSSU Student Mikaela Matheny, said.

Craig Cooper is hoping to help turn things around, he’s applying for one of the licenses.

“I was always one of those people, like, why can’t we have this, why can’t we have that, why can’t we fix up our downtown? I finally said you know what? I’m not going to talk about it anymore I’m going to do it,” Cooper, explained.

He’s turning this old furniture store on Ashmun Street into an upscale cigar lounge and bar.

“When you travel, when you enjoy cigars and whiskey like I do, one of the first things you look for is a cigar lounge you go and sit down and relax,” Cooper, added.

The other license is going to Abby Baker.

The city commissioner wants to start a farm to table bakery, breakfast and brunch spot, inside an old mechanic’s shop.

‘It had sat empty for 7 years before I purchased it,” Abby, said.

Abby says the redevelopment license is the only reason her business plans are possible.

It’s going to cost a whole lot to revamp a 100 year old building, but spirit or spirts, will certainly help.

“To put as much money as I’m going to be put into this business, being able to offer liquor and spirits and beer to my customers will help generate some revenue. I’m excited to be offering a bloody mary and mimosa and all the fun drinks that we are coming up with,” Abby, added.

Both businesses we spoke to are still in the application process so it will be another three to six months before their licenses are approved by the state.

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