HARMONY — The Harmony Inn received its liquor license Thursday from the state after nearly a year of holdups and setbacks, and could open in four weeks.
Bob McCafferty, who owns the building at 230 Mercer St., bought the property in August and initially had his liquor license cleared by the state in June 2013, only to have it revoked in November.
McCafferty said the Department of Revenue told him it wouldn’t reissue the liquor license until it received tax information from 2009-2013, a time during which the business was owned by previous owner Gary Barnes.
McCafferty submitted those documents months ago but was still left in limbo after state officials insisted information was missing or incomplete.
That’s when McCafferty enlisted the help of local and state politicians, as well as the Butler Eagle, to make public his plight.
“The Butler Eagle article got everybody fired up,” McCafferty said. “It really saved the license and saved Harmony. I don’t know what would have happened to the building and the town if we didn’t get that license.”
McCafferty said a friend who read the article even started an online petition that received more than 2,500 signatures in its first few day.
McCafferty said it will take about four weeks to get the property up and running. He has to rehire about 50 employees who were let go months ago after the restaurant couldn’t open due to the absence of the liquor license.
“Now we have a timeline, now we can open a business,” McCafferty said. “It might be another three weeks or a month, but at least we have a timeline.”