Cranberry will vote on Red Express liquor license

The owners of Red Express, a family-owned convenience store chain with three locations in Venango County, have asked the Cranberry Township supervisors to approve the transfer of a restaurant liquor license to the Red Express location on Route 257.

The transfer would permit the Red Express store to sell beer and wine, both for take-out and on-premise consumption, to complement what will be a fully renovated dining room at the business.

A brief hearing to consider the license transfer was held Tuesday. Supervisors Matt McSparren and Fred Buckholtz indicated their support for the venture but scheduled the adoption of a resolution in favor of the request for the June 25 supervisors meeting.

Chairman Harold Best was absent from Tuesday’s hearing.

Leah Redfield, daughter of owners Dennis and Diane Redfield, said the liquor license would allow Red Express “to remain competitive against non-community owned large chains” as well as keep intact the 40-member staff at the Route 257 business.

The Redfield family opened its first Red Express, a name that paid homage to founder Ansel Redfield’s nickname of “Red”, on Route 322 in 1985. They expanded to the Route 257 location in Seneca in 1991 and added a site in Franklin in 2006.

The interior of the Red Express at Seneca would be “completely overhauled,” said Leah Redfield, adding that the remodeling investment would total between $150,000 and $250,000.

The business would offer a 30-seat restaurant area for “fine casual dining,” she said.

Noting she believes the new venture will “be a benefit to the community,” Redfield said her family is also aware that “with alcohol beverages comes responsibility.” There would be strict enforcement of a two-drink maximum for on-site consumption in the dining area, scanners to validate IDs, and staff trained in responsible alcohol practices.

The store would not be open 24 hours a day, she said.

“We want it to be a nice spot for family and friends to gather,” Redfield said.

The approval of a resolution favoring the plan from the supervisors is the first step in the liquor license transfer. The state Liquor Control Board must approve the application for the transfer and that process could take up to four months.

A zoning hearing would then be scheduled because the sale of alcoholic beverages is a conditional use in a commercially zoned area.