Madison County Convenience Stores Prepare to Sell Alcohol

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Some alcohol laws across the state changed after the November election.

Madison County is one of three counties across the state that was once dry but is now wet.

Now, convenience stores, like Kings River Country Store in Marble, are getting things ready to start selling beer and wine.

Applying for permits, cleaning shelves, making room, and ordering product, are all part of the process convenience stores go through when a county goes wet.

"It's not just going down and signing a piece of paper to start selling beer and wine,” said Brent Hargis, owner of Kings River Country Store. “There is a process, and it's a fairly lengthy process as well."

The application process includes filling out and submitting paperwork, displaying an official notice, and once approved, driving to Little Rock to pick up the permit.

"This is the off premises beer and small farm wine posting,” Hargis said, pointing to the official notice. “We have to post that for 30 consecutive days prior to issuance of a permit from the Alcoholic Beverage Control in Little Rock."

For the first time since the 1940s, Arkansas has more wet counties than dry.

Hargis said he and his staff are working hard to get the store ready to sell beer and wine.

"This is going to be a beer cave,” Hargis said as he pointed to an unfinished area of the store. “It's going to be about 18x9, it will have five retail doors. You can just walk into the beer cave, it'll be self-service, and everything will be cold."

Customers at Kings River Country Store told 5NEWS they are excited to see booze come to Madison County.

"It saves a lot of people from having to go to Springdale, Fayetteville or Berryville," David Vaughn said. "It is just common sense, if you can keep the money in the community and keep it right here in Marble, that's where it needs to be."

Kings River Country Store plans to start selling beer and wine by mid-February.

If you're looking to buy beer and wine in Madison County you can head over to the Walmart in Huntsville, but not on Sundays because Madison County can only sell alcohol Monday through Saturday. 

The Huntsville Walmart just started selling beer and wine on Thursday.