February 12, 2014 - Councilwoman Peg Roth broke a tie vote, approving a bring-your-own-booze art studio on Main Street.
"The activity is a lot of fun," said Roth, who has been to similar establishments in other areas.
Leanna Haun, proprietor of the proposed Picasso's Grapevine, agreed.
"I just want to reassure everyone here that this is my livelihood, this is where I am investing my money, my time, my family, my passion," Haun said. "I want to create a business that is fruitful and I don't want to create situations. This is a priority for me. I want it to be successful and I don't want to have a problem. It's my commitment to make sure the situation is monitored and managed.
Clarkston City Council voted 4-3, Jan. 27, to approve the business concept after previously denying it.
At an earlier meeting, the council was split 3-3. Haun revisited the council to address concerns in hopes for approval.
Haun explained the studio will provide paint, canvas, paintbrushes and other supplies while offering art sessions in which customers can bring their own beer and wine.
"It's painting with a twist," she said.
Haun, who will do business as an independent company and not a franchise, said the BYOB concept adds to marketing value of the business.
"It's a really fun activity to do with friends while you enjoy music," she said.
Similar businesses have been approved in many communities like Rochester and Rochester Hills, she said.
"It's growing and very popular," she said.
Haun said the whole painting process may look intimidating, but it's not and it's geared towards customers with no experience.
Council members remained concerned about the BYOB concept.
"I think the idea is fun, but I'm not so sure about combining it will alcohol unless you have people that are trained to deal with alcohol consumption," said Councilwoman Sharon Catallo.
Haun said she will check identification, carry commercial liability insurance, reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and will only allow beer and wine in the establishment. She added classes do not always involve alcohol.
Catallo asked who is to stop customers from polishing off a lot of alcohol and over serving themselves.
Haun said customers are so busy painting they barely have time to drink a whole lot.
"Hands are kept very busy during the painting sessions," she said.
Mayor Joe Luginski said he is concerned with making sure customers are old enough to drink, and also mixing groups like bachelorette parties and with youth groups like the Girl Scouts.
Haun addressed the concern and said different groups will use different rooms and parties with children will be held earlier in the day.
She added she is also committed to having fundraisers for local events, like SCAMP, or other groups.
The planning commission recommended approval, as did city attorney Tom Ryan. City council approved the concept unanimously. The exact date of the opening is still being determined.
Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.