By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — For years, it has been a fixture at the Peters Street plaza, where Routes 133 and 114 come together.
Den Rock Wine and Spirits, located between Rocky’s Ace Hardware and Panera, has been in business since 1966. The store will soon have new owners, however.
The selectmen approved a transfer of the store’s all-alcohol license to Hiren Patel and Dipak Bhagat on Monday night.
One of the officers of Den Rock Liquor Mart Inc., William Burliss, declined to comment on the sale yesterday, saying the change of ownership is not yet official. William Burliss, of Boxford, is listed as secretary of the corporation, the current owner of the store, while James Burliss, of Kennebunk, Maine, is identified as president and treasurer, according to documents submitted to the Board of Selectmen.
James Burliss is listed as the 100 percent owner.
Patel, of Wakefield, said it’s too soon to say when he and his partner, Bhagat, of Lowell, will assume ownership and management of the store. They still need the approval of the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, he pointed out.
While they have a purchase and sale agreement with the Burlisses, they haven’t closed yet, he said. Patel and Bhagat used to own a liquor store in Lynnfield, which they recently sold.
“We wanted to have a bigger establishment,” Patel said when asked why he and Bhagat made an offer to purchase Den Rock.
“Den Rock has been a good corporate partner for the town,” Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile said at Monday night’s meeting. William Burliss has always run a “tight ship” and follows the liquor laws strictly, she said.
Selectman Tracy Watson, who chairs the board when it acts on licenses, reminded Patel and Bhagat that the town is very serious about enforcing the liquor laws.