November 24, 2010

UPDATE:  Hyde County’s liquor business is about to break even


Continued requests by the commissioners to see financial details of the operations of Hyde County’s two ABC stores yielded a report at the Nov. 15 board meeting by Kenneth W. Chillcoat, a certified public accountant from Washington, N.C.

Chillcoat’s balance sheet showed that the liquor business is about break-even. Operations show total gross income at the end of October at $58,702 and total expenses at $36,674, for net income of $22,041.

At present there is $3,986 in the checking account and $66,121 worth of inventory in both the Ocracoke and Swan Quarter stores.

Commissioner Darlene Styron noted that this is a huge amount of inventory going into the winter when fewer tourists are on Ocracoke.

She also asked again for a breakdown in income and expenses between the Ocracoke and the Swan Quarter stores.

“I asked for this breakdown six weeks ago,” she said. “If I were running this business I’d want to know what each store is doing. Then we could adjust hours and staff.”

Chillcoat’s presentation did not have this breakdown, but he said he could get those figures.

At the Oct. 18 board meeting, ABC Board chairman, Jay Etheridge, made a presentation to the commissioners that did not answer all of their questions, and Commissioner Anson Byrd asked Etheridge to prepare more figures.

After that, Etheridge sent the commissioners a letter that was mentioned at the Nov. 1 meeting.  

In it, Etheridge noted that he is a volunteer and not involved in the day-to-day operations, although he created a business plan to get the stores back on track.

“I do not have time to create nitpicky reports on two days notice that have already been talked about, or be dragged to another meeting to be asked the same questions, that were answered previously, by someone who is not trying to understand the liquor business,” Etheridge wrote in his letter. “We are trying to make this board profitable.”

Earlier this year, deliveries to both stores were stopped as unpaid invoices to distillers accumulated.  By June, the shelves at the Ocracoke store were nearly empty, but since then, the stock has been replenished.

Chillcoat’s report showed that outstanding bills have steadily been reduced. As of Oct. 31, there was $17,844 in accounts payable, down from $42,153 in July.

The price of liquor is regulated by the state, Smitherman noted. Increased revenues on Ocracoke are tied to increased mixed drink sales at island restaurants.


For more information about Hyde County’s problems with its two ABC stores, go to:

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