Monday, December 5, 2022

The Columbia Police Department closes the business on Main Street

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The Columbia Police Department (CPD) permanently closed Main’s Best, LLC after deeming the property a public nuisance. This, after its owner reported ten years of operation as a convenience store.

According to CPD, a “notice of intent to declare the property of public concern” was sent to Main’s Best owner, Steve Peter, on April 22, 2022. Two months later, the agency filed a “law enforcement protest” against the renovation of their liquor license.

“It wasn’t getting any better … just a real drain on police services in this little place in the surrounding area,” said Michael Crowley, an inspector with the CPD.

The agency says they responded to over 200 calls for service at Main’s Best since January 2021. Offenses on the property range from drug possession and distribution to public urination and defecation.

“The police come out here five, six times a day with loudspeakers saying [people] to exit the crosswalk or keep moving,” said Andy Rast, sales manager at Columbia’s neighboring BWK.

According to Rast, Main’s Best was not the issue affecting Cottontown. Instead, he says the number of homeless and mentally ill has increased since the South Carolina State Hospital closed in 2015.

“They have nowhere to go. [Main’s Best] it’s just the nearby place for them to get cigarettes and alcohol and numb their pain or mental illness,” Rast continued on the phone.

According to locals who frequent Main’s Best, Steve Peter ‘looks after’ the surrounding community and ‘plays his part’ in regards to crowd control. Peter told WIS that he is often the person who calls 911 in his storefront.

“We have a bigger problem at hand, which is that many of our Colombian citizens are headed for homelessness right now… many of them have drug addictions, many of them have problems, and we have to work on that, ” he said. John Tyler, Cottontown resident and CEO of One Common Cause Community Outreach Initiative.

Tyler, who ran for Columbia’s at-large council seat last year, says local homelessness has increased over the past six months. According to his first-hand experiences, the numbers are increasing among 18-24-year-olds.

“We have [homeless] walking through our neighborhood in the middle of the night…the problem we all have here in this immediate area continues whether this business is open or not,” Tyler concluded.

According to the KPD, Main’s Best allowed alcohol consumption on proprietary grounds that violates the businesses’ ‘off-premises’ alcohol permit.

“There are others [storefronts] that we are looking at… hopefully everyone will get the message that this is not tolerated,” Inspector Crowley said.

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