Richmond liquor store reduced to rubble

December 19, 2007 7:52:47 PM PST
There's a vacant lot where a North Richmond liquor store once stood. What had been a symbol of neighborhood crime and drug abuse is now a sign of a successful community effort for change.

The aging Golden 7 Liquor Store was reduced to a pile of rubble in a matter of minutes. Despite a recent legacy of drug dealing, shootings and assaults there was a certain nostalgia about losing what some called a neighborhood landmark built in the 1930's.

"We're going to miss our store. We're going to miss our store," said one resident.

"It was kind of run down yes, but yet and still it's still a landmark," said Ed Henry.

When Floyd Nicks' family acquired the property in 1944, and operated the store, it was for a long time an asset to the community.

"Most of the drug activity was on the other corner. When I was running the store, we didn't have that here on this corner, because any time we had a little activity we would call the sheriff," said property owner Floyd Nicks.

He said that changed after he leased the store to other operators.

Residents became concerned about criminal activity at the store just a couple of blocks from Verde Elementary School.

"Too much dying people, and a lot of drugs, everything, the store got to be you know closed," said Richmond resident Alicia Perez.

"Our goal is to knock these businesses down in any way we can," said Contra Costa County supervisor John Gioia.

It took several years. They used building code violations to force the demolition.

"It is amazing how much red tape one has to cut through to knock a building down," said Gioia.

"It's not about tearing down an old building. The story is about this community, and the good people in it. The story is about the future," said Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf.

The hope is it won't remain a vacant lot for too long. The owner hopes to work with the county to put something else here.

"We have no idea what we're going to put here, but we'd like to put something here," said Nicks.

"It cold be a house, could be another market that is high quality without liquor sales. So we'll just work those issues, and see what we can do," said Gioia.

With the Golden 7 Market gone, attention will now focus on other problem liquor stores in the area.

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