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Downtown convenience stores may lose licenses as part of ‘safe scape’ plan

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Two downtown convenience stores may lose their business licenses to sell packaged alcohol, depending on how members of Reno City Council vote during Wednesday’s council meeting. 

Wrightway Market on Evans Avenue and Lakemill Maxi-Mart on Mill Street both have been barred from selling package alcohol since Nov. 1 after an administrative hearing officer determined their licenses should be suspended. 

The hearings came after Reno Police Department and the city’s code enforcement office documented a number of concerns and violations about the stores, from fights, robberies and drugs, to human trafficking and a murder. 

Both stores are among the city’s top five businesses in calls for service, according to police.

The suspension continues through Wednesday. Dec. 14, when council members will either approve or deny the business licenses for 2023. City staff is recommending both licenses be denied. 

The businesses fall within the city’s new “Downtown Safe Scape and Buffer,” an area created by City Council a year ago to support so-called revitalization efforts in the area and reduce calls for service. 

Sale of single-serve package alcohol is banned within the area, which extends as far as West Seventh Street and Keystone Avenue to Sutro Street east of downtown. From the south, the buffer is close to the roundabout at Center and South Virginia Streets and as far north as West Eleventh Street.

To date in 2022 there have been 442 calls for service to Lakemill Maxi Mart, more than half of them specific to RPD, for drug dealing, stabbings, recovery of stolen cars, fights and other disturbances. REMSA or Reno Fire medical response was needed for 128 of those calls.

In the letter to the administrative hearing officer, RPD officials noted, “over the two year period [2021-2022], we responded to nine assault/battery, five ADW (assaults with deadly weapon), fifteen fights, one robbery, two sex related offenses, and three reports of gun shots. These calls were in addition to a recent (August 29th) homicide that occurred at the mini mart.”

Wrightway Market has had even more calls for service this year, with 595 total and 370 specifically requiring RPD response. Nearly 200 required medical response.

Devinder Dhillon, the license-holder for Wrightway, said during the administrative hearing that the calls for service were the result of the business’s location rather than the business itself.  

The city’s code enforcement team also documented hazardous electrical work, blocked aisles, graffiti and dried vomit at the stores.

City Council meets Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.

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Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.

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