An Oak Park grocery store has a thirst for selling beer and wine. But some residents living nearby don’t find the plan intoxicating.

The Jewel-Osco branch, located at 438 W. Madison since 1962, is applying for a packaged liquor license. If granted, the grocer would add a 400-square-foot section, offering wine and beer.

The Madison Jewel would join its Roosevelt Road location, along with Dominick’s, Trader Joe’s, Pan’s Food Center, Marion Street Cheese Market, Rave Wines and Oak Park Food Market (not to be confused with the Madison Jewel, which is known as the “Oak Park Market”), among the stores in the village with packaged liquor licenses in a once-dry village.

But some neighbors, living near the Madison Jewel, are concerned about how liquor sales might affect their residential neighborhood.

“There’s plenty of other places to get liquor, and I think it’s kind of close to where a lot of homeless people would come through,” said Bill Ipema, 28, who lives on the 400 block of South Scoville. “I think the clientele at that Jewel would change.”

His wife, Heather, 26, is concerned about teens at close by schools gaining access to alcohol.

“There’s a lot of traffic on this street, with both of the high schools and the junior high being nearby,” she said. “So there’s a lot of kids around, and I think that having easy access is not a good thing.”

“I’m not in favor of it,” said Lee Ross, 81, a 30-year resident. “It causes a lot of confusion; people would be lying around up and down the alley, out front, urinating on your lawn and upside the building, making noise.”

At a hearing last week on the liquor license, a neighbor claimed that Fenwick was against Jewel selling alcohol. But John Paulett, director of communications, says that isn’t the case.

“We really don’t have any position on this at all,” he said. “Jewel’s been good neighbors to us, and they’ve been very helpful to the school.”

A Jewel spokeswoman declined to comment on the liquor license.

According to the application, the liquor department would be located in the front of the store, next to the self-checkout stations and in full view of employees. Jewel would invest about $30,000 to add the liquor section.

The liquor control review board, which reviews liquor license applications, hopes to meet with Fenwick later this month to hear any concerns the school might have. A decision would then go to the village board for final approval.

Jewel started remodeling and updating its Madison location in late March and expects to finish the work by the end of August, according to a press release.


Liquor sale hours to expand

Oak Park plans to expand the hours when liquor is available for sale in order to bring the village more in line with other communities.

The proposal would add an extra hour to liquor sales Monday through Saturday, with retailers allowed to sell from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., starting an hour earlier. Sundays would see the biggest change, adding an extra three hours in the morning from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., up from the current start time at noon.

Oak Park’s liquor control review board approved the change, 3-0, last week. The village board will have the final say, and Jerry Ostergaard, head of the review board, expects that to happen in June.

Join the discussion on social media!