From dry to wet: York County businesses still looking for licenses to sell liquor

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WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, Pa. — For the first time since Guiseppe Mannino opened Marcello’s Pizza in Windsor Township he can sell alcohol.

There’s just one problem: there aren’t any new licenses available in York County. Licenses to sell alcohol are limited in the Commonwealth and businesses in Windsor Township, like Marcello’s are still working to obtain an existing license, which can be purchased from another business and transferred.

Windsor Township became ‘wet’ after a referendum passed in May allowing business to obtain liquor licenses.

Windsor Township Manager Jennifer Gunnet said she knew this was the case going into the process. We knew when we pursued it that York County was at its quota. So only licenses that are being transferred in could be used in the township,” she said.

Danette Small-Shultz is the owner of Stone Grille and Taphouse in York Township. She said creating new licenses would hurt those who already have one.If they were to add, it would definitely devalue our licenses that most of us have paid a good amount of money for it,” she said.

The cost of a liquor license in York County could set a business back up to $225,000. “The mom and pop businesses, they’re dwindling, unfortunately. Because of the costs of the licenses, but also because of the cost of doing business,” Small-Shultz said.

Mannino said he is working to obtain a license for his business. “We can expand the business, we can have more, hire more people, employees,” he said.

Representative Paul Costa (D-Allegheny) is the Democratic chair of the Liquor Control Committee and doesn’t support adding any new licenses. He said, “The number is one license for every 30,000 people. We didn’t just want to have a bar everywhere,” he said.

Costa said the Liquor Control Board has no plans to add additional liquor licenses in Pennsylvania.