By Mike Steely
The late Alvin Frye would not be pleased.
For more than 25 years Frye owned and operated Fountain City Exxon and provided full service, repairs and courteous service. His retirement was celebrated at the station and he passed away in 2017.
His Exxon station was famous nationwide for its “No Lottery, No Beer, No Hot Dogs” signs and policies.
The neighborhood service station changed hands in 2017 and during a recent Knoxville City Beer Board meeting two sales of beer to minors in a 24-month period came up but no one from the station appeared at the hearing.
Police investigation supervisor Sgt. John Coward told the hearing that the station has paid a penalty and, after some difficulty, sent in a plan to correct the problem. The station management was notified by mail and with hand-delivered notice of the hearing date and time yet no one appeared.
Several council members spoke on the situation with Charles Thomas moving to postpone the issue for a month but the motion failed 5-3. Lauren Rider was out sick and could not provide input on the service station within her district. Sgt. Coward and City Attorney Rob Frost both reported they received no phone calls from the station or explanation as to why they did not appear.
Coward hinted that it could be a “language problem” or that the management did not thoroughly read their notification. Seema Singh said that people not showing up following notifications is serious.
Amelia Parker said the matter should be referred to the Beer Hearing Officer. Frost said that the hearing officer could even revoke their license in the worse case. He said the cost of a hearing, about $350, plus a fine could be levied.
Lynne Fugate suggested asking the hearing officer to look kindly at the applicant and not revoke their license.
The council agreed 6-2 with Gwen McKenzie who said, “Rules are here for a reason” and asked that the case not set a precedent for future absentee violators.