In early 2020 Gwendolyn Singletary, the Executive Director of the Wiley Kennedy Foundation requested assistance from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in dealing with the Obama Mart, 5831 North Main Street, a nuisance business. A coalition of neighborhood leaders, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, local churches, county and city council members, and residents petitioned the South Carolina Department of Revenue to deny the renewal of the Obama Stores off-premises beer and wine permit.
The Administrative Law Court held a lengthy hearing in which local residents, community leaders, church leaders and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department testified. Community leaders and residents testified as to their direct observations of public drunkenness, prostitution, vagrancy, and threatening behavior from individuals coming and going from the Obama Store. They emphasized the negative impact of these behaviors on the surrounding community. During the hearing it was also shown that the Obama Store is a burden on law enforcement resources and that it significantly contributed to the decay of the community.
Ultimately, the Court affirmed the denial of the Obama Store’s off-premises beer and wine permit. As of September 9, 2021, the Obama Store is no longer allowed to sell beer and wine.
This is going to be a major step in getting our community cleaned up and built up,” Singletary said. “We love this community and we have built lasting partnerships between law enforcement, faith-based groups, homeowners and business owners that will continue to help us bring back the decency to this area. We want to attract new businesses and families and ensure it a safe and desirable place to live.”
“This was a difficult task and I am proud to have citizens in Richland County who care about their communities and stand up for what is right,” Sheriff Lott said. “This business has been a strain on law enforcement and the neighbors who live around it. Thank you to the Wiley Kennedy Foundation and the Department of Revenue who were instrumental in this case. This goes to show what can happen when law enforcement and the community work together.”