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Black Bear Spirits faces issues with City Council

By Meg Dickens

Tom and Rebecca Stanley joined forces to open Black Bear Wine and Spirits on December 27, 2019, in what locals know as the old skating rink after approximately six months of extensive renovations. Since then, Tom reports that business has been steady. However, the business’ name has started popping up at Mountain City Council meetings.

City Attorney George Wright has brought the business to the council’s attention for the last several months. Wright has stated that Black Bear’s drive-through window is illegal. The City Council authorized Wright to send a cease and desist letter to the Stanleys concerning this violation. In this letter, Wright mentions receiving numerous complaints about the installation and use.

Tom attended the Tuesday, February 4 meeting and was extremely displeased with how everything went down. Stanley claims that the issue is black and white, and the truth will be clear after the facts are out. He believes some of the confusion may stem from casual encounters where he mentioned hoping to get the window in operation.

“The drive-through is not being used at all,” Stanley answered when a council member asked if he was using the window as assigned. “I’ve been advised by my lawyer not to answer any questions. She’ll be here to take it into her hands.”

In an interview with the Tomahawk, Stanley revealed he only received one notice on the subject, which was the cease and desist notice dated January 30, 2020. He is currently communicating with the Nashville ABC commission. Locally, Lawyer Julie Canter is handling his defense.

“It wasn’t brought to my attention,” said Stanley. “As a partner in the community, I find it very insulting.”

Both sides of the argument are sharing different information concerning the drive-through window. Wright’s letter states that he reviewed data from the original inspector, Vincent Pishner, and there is no mention of a drive-through in the plans. Stanley states the drive-through was in the initial business plan. George Wright was not available for comment on the subject.

This issue will be discussed more at the March City Council meeting on March 3 at 6:30 PM. The Mountain City Council meetings are held at City Hall at 210 South Church Street and are open to the public. City Hall office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM.