Bladen County voters have spoken: Alcohol can be sold anywhere throughout the county.
Almost 59% of voters in Tuesday’s election supported the sale of malt beverages and unfortified wine (fermented wine with a lower alcohol content than wine with spirits), according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.
Related: Alcohol is on the ballot
When North Carolina repealed Prohibition in 1935, two years after the national law ended, it looked to towns and counties to decide whether to allow the sale of alcohol.
While measures in southeastern North Carolina were slow to appear on ballots due to concerns over preserving a family-friendly and religious environment, most municipalities in the region now allow at least the sale of beer and wine.
In Bladen County, Bladenboro, Clarkton, Dublin, East Arcadia, Elizabethtown and White Lake have all passed alcohol referenda, according to the state ABC Commission.
Now unincorporated areas of Bladen County like Ammon can sell alcohol as well.
The measure will be a game changer for many small businesses, Casey Shumaker, who has a general store in Ammon and started a petition for the referendum, told the Border Belt Independent in August.
She hopes to use the money from alcohol sales to qualify for a loan to start selling fuel – an attraction for truck drivers traveling on N.C. 242.
“I’m trying to grow the community out here,” Shumaker said at the time.