South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Nichole J. Johnson, d/b/a A Real Corner Store vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Nichole J. Johnson, d/b/a A Real Corner Store

South Carolina Department of Revenue

For the Petitioner: I.S. Leevy Johnson, Esquire

For the Protestant: Chief Dennis K. Tyndall




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-2-90 and 61-2-260 (Supp. 1998) and S. C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (1986 and Supp. 1998) for a contested case hearing. The Petitioner seeks an off-premise beer and wine permit for A Real Corner Store. The Department made a Motion to be Excused which was granted by my Order dated March 16, 1999. A hearing was held on July 7, 1999, at the Administrative Law Judge Division.


Having observed the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, taking into consideration the burden of persuasion by the Petitioner, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of evidence:

1. Notice of the time, date, place and subject matter of the hearing was given to the Petitioner, Protestant, and South Carolina Department of Revenue.

2. The Petitioner currently operates A Real Corner Store located at 1600 Holland Street, West Columbia, South Carolina and has done so since October of 1998. She is seeking an off-premise permit for that location.

3. The qualifications set forth in S. C. Code Ann. §61-4-520 (Supp. 1998) concerning the residency and age of the Petitioner are properly established. Furthermore, the Petitioner has not had a permit or license revoked within the last two years and notice of the application was lawfully posted both at the location and in a newspaper of general circulation.

4. The Petitioner has no criminal record and is of sufficient moral character to receive a beer and wine permit.

5. There was no evidence that the proposed location is unreasonably close to any church, school or playground.

6. A Real Corner Store is a neighborhood convenience store that sells food items such as milk, bread, frozen meats and dry goods. It has a full kitchen and offers fresh salads and grilled meats. At any given time, at least two employees are in the store who can check the parking lot for loiterers about every thirty minutes. Furthermore, the location has adequate parking and has not had any traffic problems in the past.

7. The location was previously permitted for the sale of beer and wine off-premises but that permit expired. The Petitioner testified that she operated the location under a temporary permit from October 1988, when she took over the business, to January 8, 1999, when the temporary permit expired. She further testified that during those months she operated under the temporary permit, she had no problems at the store related to the sale of beer or wine .

8. Chief Dennis K. Tyndall of the West Columbia police department, the Protestant in this matter, expressed concerns about the number of calls his department has received in the past regarding this neighborhood. However, he could not pinpoint that these calls were a direct result of this location's past permit(s) to sell beer and wine off-premises.

9. The proposed location is suitable for an off-premise beer and wine permit.


The Petitioner specified at the hearing that the hours of operation for A Real Corner Store are as follows:

a. 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday;

b. 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 pm. Friday and Saturday; and

c. Closed Sunday.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact, I conclude the following as a matter of law:

1. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 1998) grants jurisdiction to the Administrative Law Judge Division to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act.

2. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 1998) grants the Administrative Law Judge Division the responsibilities to determine contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.

3. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 1998) sets forth the requirements for the issuance of an off-premise beer and wine permit.

4. Although "proper location" is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the trier of fact in determining the fitness or suitability of a particular location. Fast Stops, Inc. v. Ingram, 276 S.C. 593, 281 S.E. 2d 118 (1981).

5. As the trier of fact, the Administrative Law Judge is authorized to determine the fitness or suitability of the proposed business location of a Petitioner for a permit to sell beer and wine using broad, but not unbridled, discretion. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Commission, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E. 2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984).

6. The determination of suitability of location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. It involves an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operations of the proposed business and its impact upon the community within which it is to be located. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E. 2d 335 (1985).

7. Without sufficient evidence of an adverse impact on the community, the application must not be denied if the statutory criteria are satisfied. The fact that a Protestant objects to the issuance of a permit is not a sufficient reason by itself to deny the application. See 45 Am. Jur. 2d Intoxicating Liquors § 162 (Supp. 1995); 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 119 (1981).

8. In considering the suitability of a location, it is relevant to consider the previous history of the location and to determine whether the testimony in opposition to the granting of a permit is based on opinions, generalities and conclusions or whether the case is supported by facts. Smith v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 504, 189 S.E. 2d 301 (1972); Taylor v. Lewis, et al. , 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E. 2d 801 (1973).

9. The Petitioner meets the statutory requirements for holding an off-premise beer and wine permit at the proposed location.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby:

ORDERED that the off-premise beer and wine permit application of the Petitioner for A Real Corner Store be granted upon the Petitioner's payment of the required fees and costs.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a violation of the above stipulations or restrictions be considered a violation against the permit and may result in a fine, suspension or revocation.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

August 23, 1999

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






Copyright © 2022 South Carolina Administrative Law Court