Beer at Sheetz Near Shippensburg University

- SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - The Sheetz in Shippensburg reopened it's doors Thursday morning, and that wasn't all that was new.

It's been approved to stock its soda cave with something different.

The Sheetz, which is right down the street from Shippensburg University has been given the green light to stock and sell beer just in time for college kids to make their way back to campus.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board conditionally approved a restaurant liquor license Wednesday for the Sheetz along East King Street. This means in the near future, the convenience store will become more like a bar, and it's not welcome news for local law enforcement, especially because officials with the police department said Sheetz is already a problem area.

"In 2012, we had 46 retail thefts in the whole borough, and 45 of them were at Sheetz," said Fred Scott, Chief of Police in Shippensburg.

But for others, it's a welcome convenience.

"That would be a convenience because I do buy my gas at Sheetz, so if I was on my way to a picnic, or if I was going fishing, I would not stop somewhere else, I would go to Sheetz, get my gas, buy my beer and be on my way," said Daneta Benoist, of Dun Cannon.

Daneta drove over 100 miles to check out the new Sheetz, and was disappointed there was no actual beer in store Thursday morning. She also said the possibility of underage drinking shouldn't be an issue for this community.

"As long as the attendants or cashiers, whoever, are trained in visibly intoxicated persons, so if someone walks in the door. And I'm not concerned at all about underage college students because there are beer distributors. They sell you whole cases of beer, you're 21 you leave, you get in your car, and all of your underage college buddies are in there, so it's not just Sheetz, it's everywhere that sells beer, can go, if you're going to drink, you're going to drink," she said.

But for Chief Scott, having Shippensburg University so close to the Sheetz is one of the main issues he has with the beer sales because of underage drinking, and attracting more students to the Sheetz late at night.

"If I'm 21, I'm talking to four people, two of us are 21 and two of us are 19, I go buy the beer, I bring it back to the table, who's going to know the other two are 19?" Chief Scott said.

The district manager of the Sheetz in Shippensburg said he views the convenience store as a restaurant, so having the beer will just be an additional factor for them.

But Chief Scott said since it'll be viewed as a bar, where they believe alcohol will be "served" from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., they will have to respond to calls for public intoxication and disorderly conduct as they normally would, and they will hold Sheetz responsible for keeping their customers safe.

The district manager said they're still waiting for all of the legal work to be straightened out. It could take a few weeks or up to a few months for beer to officially start being sold.

This is the second convenience store in the state to offer beer, and the first in our area.

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