ROY -- Owners of Roy's only tavern, the Rainbow Saloon, hope landing a state alcohol license would improve business; and thus far, the establishment has strong support from the community.
Many patrons and residents showed their support at a recent city council meeting. Several residents spoke on behalf of the tavern and its owners at a recent planning commission public hearing.
The city council helped the tavern leap its first hurdle by unanimously approving a local alcohol license; now the owners will try to get a state license, but there could be a wait.
Vickie Ashby, public information officer for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said one license may be released in late August or September, but at least 20 establishments are in line waiting for the license ahead of the Rainbow Saloon, and some have been waiting since December 2010.
Licenses for a club are given on the basis of one per every 7,850 residents. Right now, the state can give out 363 based on the current population, but those numbers fluctuate. So if the population increases, another license is released, but that is not a guarantee, Ashby said.
Julie Strickland owns the tavern with her husband, Terry. She hopes they may have a good chance of the state giving them a license because theirs is the only tavern in the city, and because there is wide community support.
The tavern has been operating in Roy since 1947. The Stricklands have owned the establishment for more than 13 years.
Strickland has been told it may be a long shot to get the license, but she knows it is necessary during the hard economic times everyone is facing.
Two weeks ago, on a Saturday night, the tavern had 13 people walk out when they found out they didn't serve alcohol, Strickland said. A couple of nights a week they have a steak night and many times people want wine with their meal, she said.
"The girls can't even have a wine cooler," Strickland said, referring to how laws have changed prohibiting the sale of certain items.
When the city council approved the alcohol license, many applauded in the audience. City Planner Jared Hall told the council that a long list of patrons had sung the praises of Rainbow Saloon in the planning commission meeting.
Strickland has been impressed and touched by the support. Countless fundraisers for local families have been held at the saloon as well as large Sub for Santa drives. Her family lives in Roy and they have strong sense of community and hope that feeling is passed on to their patrons.
"Our patrons are involved in the community, and they want the Rainbow to stay around," Strickland said.
Obtaining an alcohol license is new territory for the Stricklands, because they have always just served beer, so they are learning and working hard to be in compliance with every area.
Ashby said it's not uncommon for some establishments to not be in compliance, and licenses can become available that way, but because the licenses are so hard to obtain they go quickly.
Many of the council members wished the Stricklands good luck on the DABC hurdle. Councilman John Cordova told them:
"Now the real work is ahead of you."