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November 22, 2013

Officials reject chamber's request for beer booth at stroll

They didn't want street vendor taking business from restaurants or people walking around with booze

HAVERHILL — The License Commission has rejected a request for a one-day liquor license from a company working with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce that wanted to sell beer outside in Washington Square at next month’s Downtown Christmas Stroll.

Event Partners LLC of Amesbury wanted to operate a beer booth from 5 to 9 p.m. during the city’s signature holiday event Dec. 7. The stroll is geared to attract visitors downtown to patronize shops and restaurants.

License Commission member Timothy Coco said the board didn’t realize the company was working with the chamber until members began scrutinizing the liquor license request.

Coco said the members were concerned about a street vendor taking business away from “brick and mortar” restaurants and bars in the area, most of which are also members of the Haverhill chamber.

“And we also didn’t like the idea of people walking around in the street with beers during what is supposed to be a family event,” Coco said.

Chamber Vice President Jen Cantwell told the commission at its meeting Thursday night that the chamber was going to get a portion of sales receipts from the beer booth “to help pay its bills,” Coco said.

Coco also said the chamber originally wanted to allow people to walk in the street with their beers, but that the Police Department squashed that idea. He said the proposal that eventually reached the commission would have allowed people to drink in a roped-off area across from the downtown Christmas Tree.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Chamber said, “The Chamber staff, together with committed volunteers including Committee Chair Officer Paul Malone, organizes and executes the city’s largest run community events, Haverhill’s KidsFEST and the Christmas Stroll. Both are run on a shoe-string budget, surviving on donations and sponsorships solely from Chamber members who believe in the work the Chamber does.

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