CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Governor Doug Ducey's latest announcement forced a Cave Creek business to make some changes Monday. Buffalo Chip said the latest rules could force it out of business.
Governor Ducey's order calls for bars to close for 30 days if they hold a series of six or seven liquor licenses, and their primary business is selling or dispensing alcohol. Since Buffalo Chip serves food, owner Larry Wendt calls the order confusing.
"We're a class six license, which means we're only required to sell liquor under very strict guidelines and regulations, but still, that's all we're required to do," said Wendt. "We've chosen to be a food and beverage establishment. Our food sales are always more by 10 to 70 percent more than our liquor sales. We have a full and complete menu open all day and all night, so we are a class five with the health department as a restaurant. Still, if you go strictly by the license and governor's enforcement squad liquor control, I guess we'd be a class 6 and just automatically close."
Wendt said Buffalo Chip is a favorite for many who live outside Cave Creek. "That is what's made me hold on through everything that has gone on so far, is just the pride that a place that's been here since 1951 that I purchased 22 years ago that has grown into a 7-acre operation well known throughout the world."
He said you won't see dancing or bull riding at Buffalo Chip for 30 days.
"...because it will draw crowds of more than 50 people," said Wendt. The business will have take out and still serve in-house food and drinks.
"We still ordered 40-thousand-dollars worth of liquor, 55-thousand-dollars worth of food, and I'm not going to be able to sell that," said Wendt. Wendt quickly canceled his orders after hearing Monday's announcement.
"At the very minimum change operations drastically, and it goes into effect at 8 p.m? That gives us, what, three hours to comply and still not know exactly what we need to do to comply?" said Wendt.
More than two decades running the cowboy joint, Wendt is fighting hard to keep the doors open. "I guess I'm just too stubborn to say it was Larry Wendt that's been in business since 1951, go under," said Wendt.