ONLY ON 3: Coffee shop wants to sell beer, complaint holding it up

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Submitted: Sat, 11/02/2013 - 12:54am
Updated: Sun, 11/03/2013 - 6:45pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wired on Wrightsville is a coffee shop off Wrightsville Avenue, but the owners want to add beer to the late-night menu.

“Not everyone wants to drink coffee at night, or a milkshake,” said owner Jody McComish. “Some of them want to have a beer.”

The couple says that was the plan since they opened in September and first got permission from the state and county to sell malt beverages. Now, the McComishes say they are still waiting for the OK from the city, but say the city is giving them the cold shoulder.

“It’s been two and a half weeks and we don’t have a privilege license, and we don’t have any answers about why we don’t have a privilege license,” said Jody.

The city says the business is being held up by a complaint that the coffee shop is acting as a bar. City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says that the city must investigate the complaint and make sure the business is not operating illegally, a process that could take months.

The McComishes say if they can’t sell beer soon, they will be forced to file for bankruptcy, losing the nearly $25,000 they invested in the business.


  • david says:

    We emailed every city council member and the mayor but not one person got back with us. Maybe if we were Starbucks or Dunkin’ they would have spoken with us, but we are a small business.

  • justin says:

    What’s the hold up with the city if the coffee shop has state and county permits to serve alcohol – is it city zoning? Are they lacking a City of Wilmington “privilege license” to operate a business or serve beer?

    According to their Facebook page, they were serving beer until as recently as last Wednesday.

    “Due to circumstances beyond our control we are not selling beer until further notice. We are posting this now because we want ALL of our customers to know that it is a chem free environment for “The MOTO’S” this weekend and we would love for everyone to come out and have some fun with us.
    *** The Pool Tournament has been cancelled until further notice as well. ****”

    Sounds like someone ratted them out – maybe one of the local watering holes?

  • Guest123123 says:

    The only item they do not have is the city privilege license. You can not get your county and city license until the state has issued you a temporary permit.

  • brian says:

    Didn’t Jesus provide alcohol (wine) for a wedding at one point? Was HE not a positive influence?

  • malcolm4572 says:

    Ironic that this place used to be known as a gathering place for tea-totalers, ie, AA devotees . Perhaps those are the ones complaining ? I can see how the place selling beer would be a problem for them. I guess they didn’t buy enough coffee to keep the place alive however.

  • Martin Smith says:

    The only reason this is a problem is small minded people that believe all the claptrap sold to them by the preachers and the bootleggers. This kind of thing is one reason I would never move back to this area and open a business. There are a lot of people that can have a drink and not then go home and beat up the wife, spend the paycheck so the kids are hungry and degenerate into the kind of life that you probably live. I have seen this all my life in this area and yet having lived all over the world they seem to get along just fine selling alcohol anywhere and everywhere and at anytime. You probably don’t want Jews, Blacks, or even Catholics for all I know dirtying up your lily white evangelical eden. Good luck to you as you are getting just the quality of life you deserve.

  • U r kidding says:

    Are you serious??? Gas stations, grocery stores, walmart, convient stores, restaurants… I believe that these places too are contributing to the local economy..
    Guess you live under a rock- homesteading…

  • guestwho says:

    everybody. The mayor of the Bible Belt is here.

  • Evan Scott says:

    How can any place that serves alcohol be positive? Eaten at Red Robin lately? Best freakin’ burgers in town and they too serve alcohol. While Wired doesn’t serve burgers, they had a comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff. It was a good place to hang out and strike up a conversation, not a den of drunkards.

  • mccomish says:

    We did our homework. We got everything done correctly and have a permit. You are the reason we are under investigation. You put in the complaint out of spite nd jealousy. Yes I figured out who put that reply in because I have heard that coming straight out of your mouth. Anyone reading this needs to know that we know who started the problems for is, we were just adults about it and didn’t give names.

  • Guest123123 says:

    You do not understand how the ABC process works in Wilmington. The first signature for approval is the Zoning office, which was obtained in late July. Then comes fire, then bldg inspection. All signatures were obtained. Then it goes to the city ABC detective and finally the City Manager gives final approval. This all happened and finally the ABC Commission issued the permit.

    The city just does not want private clubs with full liquor licenses. They are in compliance.

  • Cori says:

    Not sure why anyone would complain to begin with– nothing is being done that is wrong at all. I visit them often and have seen all of the paperwork including the CITY ZONING. Complaining about a new local place selling a few dozen beers is just silly. Investigate– come hang out— see what Wired on Wrightsville is all about. :D Good music– and really nice people.– signed WILMINGTON NATIVE

  • Guest123123 says:

    If someone had attempted to open up a full bar with no food that would be classified as a private club. Private clubs are not allowed in that area. The state classifies this business as a retail business since the only have beer. Retail businesses that sell beer only are allowed.The state form brought to the zoning office is clearly a form that all zoning personnel are very familiar with and have signed a thousand times before.

  • Local Midtowner says:

    Do your homework… Not sure why they aren’t getting any answers. The area is zoned to prevent a new bar or place to sell alcohol. Bars/corner stores in the vicinity were grandfathered in being that they have all been there 20+ years. Anyone at the city zoning office could give them that info, but if they had done their research prior to purchasing they would have known that.

  • Resident on Wrightsville Ave says:

    Wrightsville Ave has lots of commercial businesses along its corridor.
    I guess the Asian Massage Parlor a few blocks away is just fine. Rainbow Center (a small strip mall)has been there over 20 years. In the past this Coffee House has been an anchor business to the shopping center and a good steward in the community.

    You seem to speak with glee for the circumstance this business has found it self in. That sad kind of attitude represents one of a number of reasons why Wilmington is NOT a progressive business friendly town. Its my hope that the city will address this with rational judgment so the owners can stay in business and contribute to the tax base of the city.

  • im jj says:

    it is better then the bar which has rude service across the street from wired, service is below average many time I have seen drunk people coming out getting in cars and drive.

    now for wired its a coffee shop with nice atmosphere.

    Why did someone in zone sign off on it humm

  • Alex DeLarge says:

    If what Local Midtowner says is true regarding the zoning in which the business is located, one would wonder why the owners chose to open the business with alcohol sales as a goal without thoroughly investigating the zoning usage. It’s public record and every citizen can access the information without hindrance. Matter of fact, code enforcement officers can tell you specifically what the zoning will allow and whether any variance is allowed. Zoning exists for a reason. How many people would want a strip bar next to a daycare center?! or chemical business next to a residence?! As far as “smoke shops” are concerned, it’s totally unrelated. The presumption that they support “illegal activity” is a law enforcement issue. If someone purchases real estate anywhere in the US, be aware of the local ordinances. It’s sad that these folks have so much riding on this decision, but due diligence about business is on the buyer/owner. Maybe a variance will be allowed if they can substantiate their reasoning as being a Coffee shop with alcohol sales and not another bar. We really don’t need more bars in town.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Due diligence was done.Zoning is the first department to sign off on ABC permits. The state ABC Commission does not issue permits without it.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Wilmington really does not need another bar. It seems that the owners are concerned that they are not yielding their profit goal, so now they want to add alcohol to their menu. What a surprise. This town is a mess, and it is getting worse.

  • Guest2237 says:

    Why doesn’t Wilmington new another bar? A business adds jobs and tax dollars to the local government. A bar is a place where people come together to be social and meet one another. I bet you you’re not complaining about the new Taco Bell, which will damage the community.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Alcohol was always part of the plan from the beginning. All signatures were obtained from all appropriate city and county officials and final approval from the state on 9-25-13

  • Nothing works there says:

    Tonight is WOW’s last night open. They’ve even taken down their FB page. A coffee shop just can’t thrive there. I hope the next owners of that space are not as dumb.

  • Phillip K. says:

    The owners are good people just trying to make an honest living selling legal and socially accepted products. Many Starbucks have added wine and beer to their menus. Its funny that the city doesn’t mind a “Smoke Shop” next door which makes the majority of its money selling drug Paraphernalia for use with illegal products such as weed , crack and meth. The city needs to not tie the hands of a legitimate business that can contribute positively to the community.

  • Guest350 says:

    How could any place that serves alcohol be positive?

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