An Open Letter To The Village Board Re: Liquor License Applications

Golden Quick Mart, Liquor License Applications
Golden Quick Mart, 313 Illinois Street. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)
Members of the Village Board:

Regarding the liquor license applications on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Village Board, I wish to express my support for all three, especially the one sought by Mr. Ash Seif at the Golden Quick Mart on Illinois Street.

I heard well the concerns of residents who attended two board meetings and spoke against the license application for Golden Quick Mart, and I remember well the frustration we felt with previous owners at that location, especially the one Mayor Ostenburg referenced in his public comments on July 10. I distinctly remember the dust, the sham of a business operating in that building.

I remember the smell. And I remember the disappointment I felt listening to a DEA officer testifying before the Liquor Commissioner that he had destroyed glass pipes seized from that store–a previous incarnation of that store.

In all fairness, I guess, DEA officers were not in the habit of holding on to every glass pipe seized in their work. And the worst that Park Foresters had seen at that business, at that time, a blight for our community, was just another day at the office for some in law enforcement outside the Village.

As well as the courts at times, unfortunately.

I’m certain it is these types of memories that remain with those who spoke before the board.

However, I also saw the pages of petitions. And I met Mr. Seif, toured his business, and noted that what he is doing there is operating exactly the type of business we have sought in Park Forest for years, particularly at that location. The business is doing much better than when Mr. Seif took ownership a year ago. And the store is clean, well lit. While I was there, an employee was busy sweeping the floor, in the middle of the afternoon. Mr. Seif is a very friendly, committed business owner, at least by my observation. The improvements he has already brought to the small plaza, and his plans for more (repairing and lining the parking lot, a well-lit, clean sign in front, expanding the menu inside, and more).

Mr. Seif has rehabilitated the store. This is the kind of business owner we need in Park Forest.

You gotta give this guy a chance.

Look, I know how particular the mayor is in his role as liquor commissioner. I know the due diligence police perform when investigating the background of business owners who apply for liquor licenses. I know how painstaking the code inspectors are in this town.

Mr. Seif has a business he wants to grow, and he appears to want to grow it the right way, creating an asset for the neighborhood, the community.

Please consider voting for all three ordinances, for all three liquor license applications.

Respectfully,

Gary Kopycinski
Editor & Publisher
eNews Park Forest

The writer is a former Village Trustee in Park Forest.

Related: Village Board To Consider 3 Liquor Licenses, One Not Without Controversy