Clinton Township board supports liquor license for grocer

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published May 8, 2023


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clinton Township Board of Trustees went the extra mile to support a local grocer’s bid for a liquor license at its April 24 meeting.

Vince & Joe’s requested a Class C liquor license to allow the sale of alcoholic drinks for consumption at its Garfield Road location. As of the meeting, only four of the township’s 67 state-allotted Class C licenses remained up for grabs.

A Class C license would be put to use in support of recent renovations to the Gratiot Road store, according to documents submitted in support of the license effort. A pizza and sandwich counter have been installed near the bakery to allow shoppers to buy hot food while shopping, while seating arrangements by the counter and in the wine section provide shoppers with a place to eat the food. The drinks could be purchased from the counter as well as during planned monthly wine dinners. Another proposed use of the license is selling drinks during the company’s 40th anniversary celebration.

If approved at the state level, this would be Vince & Joe’s second Class C license. Seth Tompkins, attorney for Vince & Joe’s, said the grocer holds a license for its Shelby Township location. By going to the township for the new license, Vince & Joe’s will avoid paying for an existing license, which Tompkins valued around $65,000.

According to Township Supervisor Robert Cannon, the township normally supports licenses for new businesses “who need a break,” but nobody in the township hall was under the impression that Vince & Joe’s was an up-and-coming business in need of extra help.

“The purpose of this is to support this business that supports the community and supports so many families that live and work in this community,” Tompkins said. “It’s not going to make them a million dollars ... but it will generate more foot traffic, it will generate more revenue (and) it will generate more people coming in at different times during the day for different reasons.”

The established nature of Vince & Joe’s did not stop unanimous support from trustees, though Trustee Julie Matuzak expressed some concern.

“You guys are a great business, an established business — you get all of my business,” Matuzak said. “But that does bother me, that we’re giving up one of these licenses when I would hope we would be using them to attract new businesses and to keep developing this great place.”

Cannon said there is “no line” for the Class C licenses at the township and that Clerk Kim Meltzer does not give them out easily.


Contract awarded for Water Trail improvement study
On April 24, Township trustees voted to award Brighton-based ASTI Environmental a $72,000 contract to perform an environmental assessment and necessary studies in support of the Clinton River Water Trail project.

Required in order to receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Project Funding Grant money for the project, ASTI will evaluate the proposed site for a new kayak launch at Budd Park and a new rest area at Canal Park, investigate the removal of a deteriorating building along the river, and explore removing “woody debris” from the river between Sterling Heights and Mount Clemens.

ASTI’s bid came in roughly $30,000 less than the second and only other bidder, Environmental Testing & Consulting Inc. Scott Chabot, of the consulting firm Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc., attributed that to ASTI not using subcontractors for the work.


New fire vehicle bought
The Clinton Township Fire Department is getting a brand-new staff truck, as the board approved the nearly $46,700 purchase of a 2023 Ford F-150 SuperCrew truck specced to the Police Responder Package on April 24.

The truck itself came in under budget due to another government agency dropping its order for the truck, though a letter from Fire Chief Tim Duncan says the cost of retooling the lighting and graphics will stay within the budgeted amount.