First liquor store in Clarke County draws huge crowd

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The first liquor store in Clarke County is open for business, and locals came out in full force to get a taste of the action.

Dozens of people lined up outside Speakeasy Wine and Spirits in Quitman Thursday afternoon, just waiting on the doors to open.

"I'm here to help celebrate Clarke County," Miriam Gordon says, while standing in line. "We haven't had anything like this. I'm glad it came available because we can keep the money in our community. So now we can come in our own community and get what we need. As long as we don't drink and drive."

For the store's owners, this turnout wasn't a huge surprise.

"I grew up in Clarke County, and I knew it was the wettest dry county probably in Mississippi, so I knew there was going to be a rush," Michael Lee Grace says.

Grace, an attorney in Quitman, and his brother Josh Herrington, a student at Ole Miss, are the brains behind this operation. It has been a dream for years now.

"Me and my brother have been talking a long time about opening a business together, so this was a perfect opportunity to come back home," Herrington says. "It has been a long week for sure, getting ready to open this up, but I think we did it right."

The owners say they didn't just want to be the first liquor store on the scene; they want their store to be unique.

"So our store has a theme, and it's based off prohibition, hence the name 'Speakeasy'," Grace explains. "You can see the bullet holes in the wall, which is to hearken back to when alcohol was illegal, which it was here last year."

Supporters say the idea is to benefit the city, and inspire other businesses to open up shop.

"I'm very excited about it," Mayor Eddie Fulton says. "And I think it's something that will benefit this city and our county."

Speakeasy is located on West Donald Street next to Southern Market.