Oak Park smoke shop's business license revoked

North Avenue business ordered to close by Nov. 20

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The flame is going out at Smoker's Stop in Oak Park.

By Nov. 20 the shop at 6319 North Ave. will be forced to close its doors following an order from the village of Oak Park. Due to a variety of issues, the business had its license revoked.

Judith Alexander, co-founder of North Avenue Neighbors Association, said the neighbors received news of the closure via a letter from Oak Park Police Officer Anthony Coleman, the beat officer in the neighborhood.

Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley met with neighbors in September about Smoker's Stop, which received multiple complaints regarding late-night noise and litter.

Police spent the past month examining the shop after reports from the Cook County Department of Revenue revealed the store has been selling cigarettes it purchased outside Cook County to avoid the county's taxes on cigarettes.

Smoker's Stop was cited by the county repeatedly for evading Cook County taxes by selling cigarettes purchased from places where taxes are cheaper.

The letter sent to residents thanked them for getting involved in the matter and informed them of the Nov. 20 date by which the shop must cease operations. The matter was also discussed at the Northwest Side Community Coalition meeting Tuesday, which was packed with both residents from Oak Park and the Galewood neighborhood of Chicago.

Neighbors had complained to the village about the Smoker's Stop and the constant loitering and late-night noise on the street associated with the business. Alexander said the late-night activity around the shop made neighbors nervous.

An administrative hearing recently was held before Oak Park Village Manager Cara Pavlicek and legal counsel. At that hearing, the village found sufficient evidence to revoke Smoker's Stop's business license, according to the memo sent to residents.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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joe from south oak park  

Posted: November 18th, 2013 9:59 PM

so whites aren't supposed to patronize bodegas? I must have missed the memo in white men's quarterly.

Zero Value Comment Troll  

Posted: November 18th, 2013 3:00 PM

Maybe the customers of this establishment will just head over to the new (?) head shop on Roosevelt? Berwyn gets bars and restaurants on Roosevelt; Oak Park gets head shops. Awesome.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: November 18th, 2013 11:57 AM

For the record, Wow, I'm black so keep the racist drivel to yourself. It isn't a race issue, but a class issue. Those business are not targeting middle/upper income residents. A concentration of them tends to bring down home values, attract crime, loitering, etc. No homeowner in OP is going to be using walking distance to a pawn shop, bodega, etc as a selling point for their home.

Hey Wow  

Posted: November 18th, 2013 11:17 AM

Uncommon Sense's comments about wig shops, pay day loan places, bodegas and 7-11s did not have anything to do with black people to me. I'm black, don't patronize these types of stores and definitely don't want to live around any of them. With that said I'm a little more concerned that you thought of black people when he mentioned these established.


Posted: November 18th, 2013 9:10 AM

Is the writer confusing littering with loitering, or is that just a coincidence?

C'mon already...  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 6:46 PM

What's the village doing to attract businesses on North Avenue? Why did Einstein's leave? How about "Glazed Expressions"? Or a cool vegan restaurant like Native Foods Cafe or Kitchen 17? People want to get out there!

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 6:04 PM

What's wrong with payday loan stores is their proliferation. There are several on North Ave., along with a number of currency exchanges & 5 pawn shops. Together, these businesses signal Galewood & Oak Park residents that North Ave. is not the kind of place they want to stop & shop or dine. So the businesses we want there get less business and move away, and new ones decide to locate elsewhere. The vacancies and rundown businesses attract crime. This negative cycle has been going on for 20

Wow from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 5:35 PM

OK, i can see plenty of objections to payday loan stores -- but seriously if they're legal, then whey can't they be in Oak Park? Is Oak Park so much better and more deserving than Forest Park, Maywood, Elmwood Park or Chicago?

Amazed from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 5:34 PM

Gotta love it. They are getting shut down, not because they were an alleged nuisance, but because they didn't pay enough sales tax. This is weirder than Breaking Bad.

Wow from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 5:33 PM

Wow, get rid of bodegas, wig shops, etc -- rarely do you see somebody in Oak Park so up front with their code words for "black-oriented" businesses. What incredible snobbery or racism -- not quite sure which it is. I'm a bit puzzled at what is objectionable about any of these shops. Care to elucidate?

Chappy Jennings  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 5:24 PM

Dang! Where am I going to get my cheap smokes now?!

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 3:46 PM

If we can get rid of the bodegas, 7-11s, wig shops, payday lenders, and pawn shops we might be on to something...

Chris Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 3:06 PM

Good job neighbors! Community involvement can make a difference. And good job to the Village - revocation was the right thing.

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