A 2017 law that shifted the first hurdle of “private club” status approval to local governments is getting its first test before Stone County’s governing body.
Quorum court members say they will spend the next three weeks visiting with constituents and considering the merits of a private club request from Andy Wittchow, who is constructing the Minute Club at 20899 Highway 5. He presented his request at the court’s regular meeting last week and action was tabled.
Wittchow, a construction company owner and developer, plans to launch the new establishment at Highway 5 and Blue Sky Road around April 1. In accordance with the 2017 law, he petitioned the quorum court for approval to apply for the necessary permits with the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He showed justices of the peace a stack of petitions he said included several hundred signatures from Stone County residents in favor of the private club status.
He has leased the location – formerly Mikey’s Smoked Meats – and is working on extensive renovation and expansion. Wittchow is the establishment’s sole proprietor, and says he will employ up to 40 workers with a potential $250,000 annual payroll.
“What we’re really trying to do is to accommodate the tourists who come through here,” Wittchow said. “We’re a tourism community, and there are so many people who come through here and would like to have a beer or a glass of wine with their pizza or sandwich,” he said. “If we don’t do this, people are going to go elsewhere for it.”