These pictures were taken for a radio story for WUFT News about the strange alcohol laws of North Central Florida. This region has one of the last dry counties, and many other counties that will not sell liquor at all. These photos show the landscape of North Central Florida — rural, empty and quiet — and the economic impact of strict liquor laws.
Main Street in Mayo, Fla., the only town and municipality in Lafayette County. The rest of the county, one of the last dry ones in the state, is farmland. Main Street is empty and hot on a summer day, with few people walking the streets. Most of the businesses are closed and run down from lack of use, a common factor in many towns in North Central Florida.
The Dust Catcher is one of the only thriving businesses in Mayo, Fla. The owner of the store — known by everyone in town as Miss Vi — is the head of the historical society and hosts Chamber of Commerce meetings in her store. Miss Vi said she believed that regardless of whether or not it is because it is a dry county, the local economy is at a low point, and the county needs help.
Next door to The Dust Catcher is one of two gas stations that sells malt liquor and beer, the only kind of alcohol available within 15 miles. The gas station has the most car traffic of any other store along Main Street, partly due to the constant stock of beer.
Three beers have been stolen from a six-pack in Mayo Food Mart in Mayo, Fla.
About a fifth of the daily stock for the May Food Mart, a gas station in Mayo, Fla., alongside other assorted snacks and treats. Behind this is an entire wall of fridges devoted to only beer and malt beverages, as well as soda.