By Meg Dickens
The second liquor store in Johnson County’s history opened its doors on Friday, December 27. Johnson County locals Tom and Rebecca Stanley joined forces to open Black Bear Wine and Spirits in what most locals know as the old skating rink at 1123 South Shady Street. The building required extensive remodeling, which took approximately six months of labor. The Stanleys did this labor themselves, along with the help of family and friends.
The Stanleys chose the old skating rink because of personal history. Tom and his father used to skate there together, his great aunt previously lived on the property, and he worked at a business beside the property at one point. In an interview, Tom said he wanted to preserve the history.
“We’re local and have had to drive out of town for years to buy things not sold locally,” Tom explained when asked what inspired him to open this business. “We want to support local businesses. Hopefully, everyone can benefit.”
Tom is not new to the business world. Stanley has an Associates Degree in Business Management and ran a driving range for some time. The Stanleys sold their family farm to start Black Bear and work hard to encourage responsible drinking at the store through conversation and ID checks.
Tom reports a lot of support both in the community and in the surrounding areas. Stanley says customers and vendors are kind and have given him suggestions on stocking. Black Bear currently sells beer, wine, and liquor. In the future, it will also sell tobacco products and lottery tickets.
When asked about opposition to local liquor stores, Tom said, “I respect their wishes and understand where they’re coming from, but I believe it is a choice people should have here. TV ads and organizations, like ACTION Coalition, are causing people to be more educated on the subject and hopefully more cautious.”
Black Bear Wine and Spirits is located at 1123 South Shady Street in Mountain City, TN. Black Bear is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 9 PM and on Sunday from 12 PM to 6 PM on Sunday. Find out more about this business on Facebook or call (423) 727-9463.