Let me preface this by saying that I love Milton. I have the utmost respect for those who work in the city to make it a great place to live.
That being said, if I were boss for a day – I’d make some serious changes. I just read the article found here: Committee votes down beer licensing update on the Milton Courier’s website. First and foremost, let’s not forget we live in Wisconsin. We’re known for 3 main things, The Packers, Cheese and Beer; in no particular order. I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. I’m personally proud of it. Now back to the article. Herein lies where my first problem with the decision making goes. You have 1 Class A license per 1,500 residents. According to this article, there is no regard to the location of where among those 1,500 residents the establishment may be. I think that if you are going to have a regulation, self-imposed no less, you need to consider more than just one element. You have 2 on the southeast side of Milton within a block or so of each other and the the 3rd on the opposite side of town. I would argue that you need to include the placement of the establishment with this decision.
It’s some sort of big secret what brand of filling station this will be, according to the Courier: “This specific business that is coming into town is a very prominent brand of convenience store,” Frazier said. “They seek to build a substantially sized facility … and they, in their new operating model, do have beer and some wine.”
Well let’s figure out which it most likely is NOT. First, probably not independent, like Arndt’s. Second, probably not Mobil since the Milton Travel Center is just blocks away. More than likely not Kwik Trip since there is one in town. Which, among the big players, leaves BP, Citgo and Exxon are those that come to mind. However, let me digress to Kwik Trip, there have been a number of new stores opening across the state as well as Minnesota and Iowa. The newer stores are bigger, have more to offer in the realm of groceries and bakery as well as the beverage/coffee areas. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they are considering another in Milton. I personally just don’t see the other 3 making a move. I could be wrong, it happens once in awhile.
Back to the major issue. A problem I see is that we as a city let the highway 26 bypass close off the whole stretch of businesses from Mobil/McDonalds all the way up as far as the Caddyshack. I understand the need and desire for a bypass. So we aren’t going to avoid it going in, but I think more could have been done in the planning of exits and signage in the proactive sense. Whereas now it has all been reactive. In essence, we ice out the Mobil, McDonalds, Burger King and Piggly Wiggly only to then open the gates to a sizable convenience store. And here lies the question…Where the hell is our loyalty to these businesses who believed in the city first? Where on the agendas are the efforts to better serve these business owners who serve Milton. They provide jobs, commerce and most importantly, give back.
And in closing, though I haven’t heard the argument yet, but I’m sure it will be coming…”Well if we put in the convenience store, it will entice people to stop in Milton and then see what the city has to offer.” WRONG. [Imagine game show buzzer going off with the wrong answer to a question] There may be the occasional exception to the rule, but, don’t kid yourselves, if you are on a road trip, your way to work or just out for a drive and you stop for fuel, soda or a snack, you get off the highway, grab what you need, run to the restroom and get right back on.
I’ll end with this…in all reality, is a convenience store near the 26/59 corridor really the best option for Milton?