Princeville officials lobby for ABC store


Staff Writer

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The town of Princeville is urging the Edgecombe County ABC board to re-open the store in the town.

The store at 300 S. Main St. in Princeville has been closed since it was damaged following the flooding of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. A recent Edgecombe County ABC board meeting included Princeville interim town manager Greg Bethea and Princeville Commissioner Milton Bullock.

The Edgecombe County ABC board made no assurances whether it will bring the Princeville store back but didn’t totally rule out the possibility. The reluctancy to bring it back is because of the town being flooded twice within the past 20 years, according to the board.

“This is something that we’ve discussed every month, and it’s certainly not a closed issue,” board Chairman Charlie Harrell said. “We’re looking at different opportunities, but we don’t want to go the wrong route.”

Bethea asked the board what it was looking for from the town for the board to reopen the store. Bethea said during a previous Princeville board meeting that the commissioners voted 4-1 to have the store reopen.

Bethea acknowledged that because the ABC stores are operated by local government that the town will continue to get a share of the profits that are distributed to the towns in Edgecombe County whether the store reopens or not. 

“For us this is another business that generates traffic and helps stimulates our commerical base as well as encourage our citizens to come back as well,” Bethea. “It would be like any other businesses that helps the tax base.”

Bethea said he has talked with N.C. Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe about considering having the Princeville ABC store moved to the 53 acres on Shiloh Farm Road off U.S. 64 given to Princeville by the state that will consist of housing and other businesses coming to the location.

James Bridgers, a former Princeville mayor and longtime business owner in Princeville, owns the building where the Princeville ABC store operated. Bridgers said the Dollar General and some other businesses have come back to the town. In addition, three apartment complexes have reopened or are in the process of opening in the town.

“The people are coming back, and they keep asking when the store is coming back,” Bridgers said.