Chipley Liquor celebrates grand opening

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Washington County’s first-ever liquor store welcomed members of the community during a grand opening celebration on Friday, April 26.

Chipley Liquor–along Highway 77 by Wal-Mart–was decorated with festive balloons for the occasion. Every customer that day who bought $20 worth of items received a free bottle of vodka and taco.

The store is owned by Ajay Patel and his brother-in-law, Ankit Patel. It has been open since March and sells rum cocktail mixes, margarita mixes, Modelo, and whiskey, along with other selections. 

Chipley Liquor, Washington County’s first-ever liquor store, celebrated a grand opening on Friday, April 26. From left: Co-owner Ajay Patel and Washington County Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Birge. [COLLIN BREAUX | The News]

“Thank you guys for being here. It truly means a lot to my family and I,” Ajay said. “We saw Washington County as a good place to grow and help out the community. We saw that Washington County had a lot of potential, so we decided we wanted to be here. We did everything we could to make it happen.”

Ajay said they have received support from locals, who have expressed gratitude for Chipley Liquor opening.

Chipley Liquor, Washington County’s first-ever liquor store, celebrated a grand opening on Friday, April 26. From left: Co-owner Ajay Patel, Washington County Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Birge, and co-owner Ankit Patel. [COLLIN BREAUX | The News]

Members of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, along with other local dignitaries, attended the grand opening.

Chamber President Cindy Birge said she was “thrilled” to witness the moment.

“It symbolizes the growth and the innovation in the community,” Birge said. “Congratulations to Ajay and Ankit Patel for deciding to visit Washington County and putting your business here. Your vision and dedication made this day very possible. Your investment strengthens our community and paves the way for future growth.”

Store owners and employees, along with members of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and other local dignitaries, attended a grand opening for Chipley Liquor–the county’s first-ever liquor store–on Friday, April 26. [COLLIN BREAUX | The News]

The opening would not have been possible without the “dedicated volunteers” who “courageously” undertook an initiative that “had previously failed twice,” Birge said in reference to Washington County becoming wet–meaning it permits the sale and use of alcohol–in 2022 through voter approval.

“A special thanks goes to the residents of Washington County and voters who made this day possible by getting out and voting,” Birge said. “We started this endeavor in 2020. A committee formed. We didn’t know how hard it was going to be. It was a lot of work, going door to door and getting those petitions signed and making sure we got it on the ballot. In January of 2022, it was voted on and here we are, four years later from the forming of the committee, to our very first liquor store.” 

Chipley Liquor, Washington County’s first-ever liquor store, celebrated a grand opening on Friday, April 26. From left: Co-owner Ajay Patel and Washington County Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Birge. [COLLIN BREAUX | The News]

Local businesses like Chipley Liquor “form the backbone of our economy,” Birge said.

“I know you’re not going to be the last one,” she said. “It is so important to us that our economy grows and this is a very big part of it, becoming wet.”