Virginia ABC prepared for college student customers at new Blacksburg store

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) A second Virginia ABC store held it's Grand Opening in Blacksburg Monday, the 361st within the Commonwealth. It's near Virginia Tech's campus on University City Boulevard, which will likely mean more Hokie customers.

Halloween can be a time, even for people over 21, to get some treats.

But with more than 13-hundred alcohol items just over a mile away from Virginia Tech's campus, it may tempt people who are *not* 21 years old.

Ryan Sands, a senior at Virginia Tech, said of the new ABC Store, "I think it's a smart business move for the liquor store, but I think the proximity to campus isn't really all the wise because the people living on campus are not of age."

ABC admitted many of their customers will be Virginia Tech students, but staff are prepared for that.

Officials at ABC said they will not be contributing to any underage drinking.

Virginia ABC Chairman of the Board Jeff Painted explained, "We have a great responsibility as the only place that you can purchase spirits in this state to make sure that we provide those in a responsible manner."

He added ABC has a 98% compliance rate with the drinking age law, slightly higher than that of restaurants or grocery stores.

The four staff members already employed and any others who are hired, know to check identification on anyone who looks under 30.

ABC Regional Manager Patrick Campbell explained, "If the customer is asked for an ID, not only does the employee have to look at the ID to verify the age, but they also have to swipe the ID presented for POS verification."

Painter added, "It's part of our training for our clerks and our managers and we check ourselves. Our agents go in, we send underage folks in to test our folks to make sure they ID."

And if there are any issues with the ID or concerns about the validity, this store will have a zero tolerance policy.

"If there's any doubt, we don't make the sale," Campbell said.

ABC said they opened the store on University City Blvd. because the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area is one of the highest growing areas in the Commonwealth.

The company pointed out Blacksburg, together with its neighbors Christiansburg and Radford, was recently ranked in the country's top ten "Best Emerging Places to Live" and top 20 "Most Secure Places to Live" by BestPlaces.net, which noted the city's population increase and low unemployment rate.

It being located there follows with their current plan of having 92% of the population in the state no more than 10 minutes from an ABC store.

The new store is located at 765 University City Blvd. in University Mall.

The new 2,742-square-foot retail outlet offers approximately 1,314 items and employs four people. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.