Following COVID-19 shutdowns, the S.C. government proposes legislation to potentially kill 150+ jobs across the state by summer 2022
You may know Summerville as the birthplace of sweet tea, but for one small business owner, it’s the birthplace of something even sweeter. And it’s taken the Lowcountry and the state of South Carolina by storm.
After a tour of duty in Iraq, Booze Pops started with a Veteran, a birthday party, and one brilliant idea.
Owner of Booze Pops, Woody Norris, founded his business plan when he was at a friend's birthday party where he was offered a popsicle infused with alcohol. Immediately, Norris wondered if anything like this was available on one of America's favorite past times—an ice cream truck.
During his first trip through a neighborhood, he was unsure if his idea would be a hit, but when he returned for a second trip and saw the streets lined with everyone from Little League coaches to housewives, he knew that the people of South Carolina had spoken.
Since that first trip, Booze Pops has taken pride in bringing communities together—both by providing fun treats and also giving back to the community in a big way. The business offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic treats for everyone from exhausted parents to kiddos to enjoy.
However, following the pandemic, just when local business owners, such as Norris, believed that it was finally time for economic recovery, House Bill 4998 has made it clear that they have other plans for Booze Pops and the 150+ S.C. residents and disabled Veterans that Norris employs.
According to the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the state lost 10% of small businesses due to the pandemic—and that’s only the impact as of March 2021. Norris argued, is now really the time to pass a bill that could potentially put over 150+ people out of work by summer 2022?
As it stands now, the bill—with no tweaks or amendments to accommodate the business model that Booze Pops operates under, as well as other businesses like PROOF Alcohol Ice Cream—will legislate Norris and the others out of business only 90 days after the bill goes into effect.
Contrary to what many government officials are arguing, Norris recognizes the need for regulation of this largely uncharted territory of the alcohol business when it comes to food products, but he does not want to be legislated out of business by House Bill 4998—a bill that is supported by a privately owned company WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association).
Rather, he suggests that business owners like himself be invited to help make laws that make sense for small business owners. Norris spoke, “Lawmakers should instead write new legislation for regulating businesses like mine. Other states such as Texas have found alternatives that allow businesses like Booze Pops to operate.”
American Veteran-owned and operated, Booze Pops is a proud sponsor of all United States military members.
After living in Afghanistan for eight years and serving a tour in Iraq, Norris earned his degree, came home to Summerville to care for his grandmother, and started Booze Pops as a disabled Veteran.
“It’s been interesting,” spoke Norris, “You serve your country and then you come home, create a business, and they’re trying to shut you down.”
Each state creates its own liquor laws and government officials can choose to help or hurt their local businesses, Norris explained.
Not only could alternative legislation help businesses such as Woody’s, but it could also bring great opportunity to thousands of South Carolina business owners, particularly after such a gloomy period of time following the pandemic—a time when innovation, revitalization, hope, and building our community should be the No. 1 priority for all.
When Norris isn’t delivering cocktails on a stick to exhausted parents and those who just want to smile after such gloomy times following the pandemic, he’s passionate about his community.
Aside from employing 150+ folks across the state, including disabled Veterans, Norris takes pride in giving back to the community. Charities that Booze Pops has and continues to support include the Wounded Warriors Project, local Veterans associations, Carolina Children’s Charity, Low Country Orphanage, and more.
“Summerville is the birthplace of sweet tea. And it’s also the birthplace of Booze Pops,” spoke Norris.
If you’re interested in helping businesses such as Booze Pops and supporting his #saveboozepops campaign, he simply suggests, “Buy a booze pop!”
Or, more importantly, make your voice heard by South Carolina legislators by visiting saveboozepops.com. Simply submit your name and contact information and a message will be sent straight to legislators.
Norris also supports all local business owners in their journey to prosperity and rebuilding the South Carolina economy. If you are an S.C. business owner, Norris suggests joining the Business Owners Coalition (BOC). “Here, business owners can let us know how the state government has negatively impacted their business,” spoke Norris. “We work together to figure out creative solutions and strategic methods for a solution to this growing problem of corruption and the desire for control in our state.” For more information on the BOC, visit https://saveboozepops.com/join-our-coalition/.