Kennesaw convenience store cited twice for underage alcohol sales

Kennesaw City HallKennesaw government complex (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

By Rebecca Gaunt

Regulars at the RK Market Shell gas station in Kennesaw will have to buy beer somewhere else for the next 30 days.

The store, located on Cherokee St., was cited July 1 for selling to an underage agent during a compliance check.

According to Officer Scott Luther, the Kennesaw Police Department conducted 23 compliance checks that day with four failures. RK Market was still in the 24-month window since a previous citation for selling to a minor during a compliance check in 2019, which put it at risk for revocation of its alcohol license.

The store received a two-week suspension of its alcohol license and additional required training of staff for the 2019 violation.

Owner and licensee Chetan Panchal appeared before mayor and council at Monday’s due cause hearing. He apologized for the incident.

“We understand the privilege that we have to do business in the city of Kennesaw and we take this seriously,” he said.

Since the first infraction, the point of sale has been updated so employees cannot override the birthdate requirement. Identification must be scanned or a date of birth manually entered.

However, in this case the employee who sold the beverages entered his own birth date rather than check the ID of the agent.

The six-pack of watermelon-flavor Smirnoff Ice that the undercover agent selected only had five bottles and another bottle had been switched with a regular Smirnoff Ice. Panchal explained that during the transaction the employee focused on correcting the error and couldn’t remember if he had checked the ID.

The employee, who attended the hearing, apologized to the mayor and council for the mistake.

Assistant city attorney Sam Hensley, Jr., questioned the store manager’s decision not to fire the employee.

“He’s a good employee and I’d like to give him another chance,” Vikas Panchal, who has managed the store since 2014, said.

Hensley recommended a 30-day suspension of the alcohol license with an additional six months of probation to include training requirements and compliance checks.

Council unanimously approved the recommendation.

In other business:

*Council approved a resolution to establish a sister city commission.

*The final hearing for updates to the code of ordinances regarding solicitation was held and the changes were approved.

* Phase two of Galt Commons, a Sanctuary Companies development which will include 16 single-family residences in the central business district, was approved.

*Council approved the final plat for the Village at Fullers Chase townhome community on Boone Drive.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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