by Lisa Tome
After being denied a liquor license in downtown Rising Sun three years ago, Balraj Singh is a happy man.
As of December 6, Singh, who attempted to get a newly issued liquor license at Cigar-Etc in Rising Sun Plaza in 2014, now owns the liquor license at Chrome Dairy, by way of a license transfer.
"It's been awesome," said Singh.
He has now undertaken a huge project, remodeling the interior of the building while remaining open. "The deli has been closed for a long time and we're not doing that. We will concentrate on beer, wine liquor and some groceries," said Singh, who has owned Cigar-Etc for nine years.
"Once we get the deli stuff out, we will have a lot more room. I'm pretty happy about the transferred license. I couldn't get it that time (in 2014)," he said. "I want a fresh look here so people will come inside."
He plans to offer, in addition to the liquor sales, some grocery items.
He said he'd like to hear requests from customers regarding what they'd like him to stock. "I want people to tell us what they want us to sell. That's how it works in a small town," he said.
He is currently renting the building from the former owner but has big plans for the store. "I wanted a liquor store in Rising Sun. We're getting lots of positive vibes. People have said they are glad we took it over. We've gotten a lot of congratulations and I'm keeping my fingers crossed," Singh said.
Chrome will be open six days a week from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday hours will be 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Liquor licenses are granted according to population by election district. Of the 46 licenses currently available, all are north of the C&D Canal. There are none available in Cecilton and two are currently grandfathered in. Chesapeake City also has none available. There are currently 54 liquor licenses available countywide. Two businesses, Joker's and Hurricane's, both in Elkton, have closed.
There are 13 liquor licenses available in Elkton, 11 in Fair Hill, 17 in North East, four in Rising Sun, five in Perryville/Port Deposit, two in Conowingo, and eight in Calvert.
Back in 2009, Cecil had an all time high licenses issued with 160.
According to Earl Bradford, Chief Inspector for the Cecil County Liquor Board, an emerging trend in liquor sales in Cecil County is breweries. The licensing process is different for those because there are state and federal requirements. Those four pending are Valhalla in Cherry Hill, Bay Head in Chesapeake City, Elk River in downtown Elkton, and a pending application for Bridge Street in Elkton.