Liquor lovers will soon have to travel a bit further than Main Street to purchase hard liquor and wine.  

Liquor lovers will soon have to travel a bit further than Main Street to purchase hard liquor and wine.  

The state-owned and operated Wine & Spirits Store, located at 541 Main St., will close its doors on Dec. 31. Once closed, Honesdale will lack a Wine & Spirits store for about four months, requiring liquor and wine drinkers to drive to Hawley, Hamlin or Carbondale to make purchases.

Not only can this be an inconvenience for residents, but also this move can potentially leave local businesses high and dry.

Some Main Street business owners think the move will hurt the downtown economy of Honesdale.

“I’m hugely concerned that it could adversely effect the town’s business,” said Jeff Hiller, owner of the Trackside Grill and president of the Greater Honesdale Partnership. “I’ve called Harrisburg ... but I’m not sure anybody could do anything.”

The Greater Honesdale Partnership (GHP) is not in favor of the store being moved away from Main Street.

GHP executive director Gail Tucker said the state store is considered an anchor for Main Street businesses. 

Hiller said the store is an attraction that brings people in from New York state, but the possible relocation near the Route 6 Mall would not bring the people to Main Street.

“This is a popular store,” Hiller said. “If it’s relocated to the Route 6 Mall, what happens is they never get to Honesdale.”

“I surely would rather see the Wine & Spirits Store remain in our borough,” Mayor Jonathan Fritz said. “They are an asset by all key measures.”

Fritz said the move is purely a business matter.

“There are fundamental business elements and terms that can only be controlled by the two parties in negotiation,” he said.

He reiterated what other business owners said when they learned of the move: Main Street does not need another empty storefront.

“Especially in this economy, its bothersome to learn that we may lose them as a Main Street business. Several of us have voiced our concern and hope to compel them to work things out and stay, but the lease is coming to term and unless the two parties can come to an agreement and renew, we may see a relocation,” he said.

A call to the Bureau of Liquor Control was not returned by press time.