Mundelein rejects liquor license request
Eddie Saman, owner of the Marathon Gas Station at Route 176 and Midlothian Road, wants the village board to grant him a liquor license to stay competitive and avoid going out of business. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 21, 2012 12:20PM
MUNDELEIN — A struggling small business owner tried to open an age-long discussion on alcohol sales, but was quickly dismissed by the Mundelein Village Board.
Eddie Saman, owner of the Marathon gas station at Route 176 and Midlothian Road, and his landlord Jim Peters asked trustees for a liquor license to help prevent the station from failing.
“Business has been bad for the last three or four years. Part of the reason is that our nearby competition has changed,” Peters said. “They have much more buying power than Eddie and it’s become difficult to compete.”
Peters said the Shell station west of his property was bought by Circle K and is now, like the nearby Citgo, a corporate-owned operation that can offer more products at consolidated prices.
“CVS is across the street and they not only have the same buying power but they have a liquor license too,” Peters said. “We need some sort of additional revenue, and without a car wash we feel maybe a liquor license could make us competitive.”
Saman and Peters asked Village President Kenneth Kessler for a license in October but was denied. Kessler again denied the request, while clarifying that CVS is in unincorporated Lake County and did not get a license from Mundelein.
“My position as the liquor commissioner was that I’m not interested in creating another liquor license, and unless someone on the board thinks otherwise, my original decision stands,” Kessler said.
Saman and Peters received the same response from the trustees.
“The Village of Mundelein has never, ever granted a liquor license to a gas stator or convenient store,” Semple said. “If we created a license for you, how do we say no to every other gas station in town? I think it’s a good policy and I won’t budge.”
Trustees Terri Voss and Steve Lentz both agreed, citing potential safety concerns and connections to drinking and driving.
“I understand you are doing this because you’re having trouble with business, but if we give it to you, every other gas station in town would want one and there would be no advantage to you,” Voss said. “You need to find a way to make your business viable with what you have.”
Saman described a recent project to construct a car wash to boost revenue but said the Lake County Department of Transportation halted the project because the proposed structure would have been too close to a street access point.
For similar reasons, the Village of Libertyville does not allow gas stations or convenient stores to sell alcohol.
In Vernon Hills, four gas stations and three convenient stores sell non-hard liquor alcohol.
Vernon Hills Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer opposes their ability to sell alcohol but said they’re long-standing license holders from before Vernon Hills took the same stance as Mundelein and Libertyville.
“I would agree with Mundelein on this topic,” Fleischhauer said. “Employee turnover rates in gas stations are high. You don’t see 17-year-old kids going into Beer Market to get beer for a party. Their staff is well trained and stable.”