CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) – Washington County’s days of being a dry county may be numbered as petitions to include the sale of liquor on a special ballot have begun arriving in the mailboxes of county voters, and interest is generating quickly.
Javier Valdovinos, the owner of Javier’s Mexican Grill in Chipley, said that not being able to serve liquor in his Mexican restaurant has been a challenge.
“It would be a lot better if people walking in who say ‘I want a gold top-shelf margarita, I want a shot of tequila’ and then if we have it, it’s gonna be better,” said Valdovinos.
Washington County is one of Florida’s three remaining dry counties, along with Liberty County and Lafayette County. However, Advance Washington County, a local economic development committee, recently drafted a petition to change that.
According to our media partner, The Washington County News, the petition must gain the signature of 25-percent of Washington County’s registered voters in order for the issue to be placed on the ballot.
Brandon and Jennifer Tompkins, the owners of BJ’s Grill – Burgers and More!, said that allowing the sale of liquor would do wonders for the county’s economy.
“If you look at it from a revenue standpoint, Washington County needs the revenue,” Jennifer said. “It would bring so many more businesses like the chains, plus it would just open up for the local mom and pop’s like us that option to do more.”
Brandon added that they only serve breakfast and lunch right now, but allowing liquor sales would give them the option of being open for dinner.
The deadline to gain the needed signatures is at the end of September.
“We just want the town to be progressed. We don’t need to keep Chipley like the old Chipley, we need to have a new Chipley. We need to have better things to do in town,” said Valdovinos.