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posted: 2/5/2013 5:56 PM

Carol Stream OKs beer sales at gas stations

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Those who stop at gas station convenience stores in Carol Stream may soon be able to pick up a six-pack of beer along with their beef jerky and Lotto tickets.

The village board agreed this week to allow the sale of beer and wine at gas stations after hearing from three business owners who said it would help them compete in an increasingly difficult market.

The beer and wine sales won't become official until those business owners -- or any others in town -- officially apply for and receive a license. If and when they do, Carol Stream would become at least the 11th town in DuPage County to allow some type of liquor sales at gas stations, according to a survey by the DuPage Mayors & Managers Conference.

Two of the gas station owners who spoke to the village board Monday said the ability to sell beer and wine would play a major part in the success of their facilities, set to undergo renovations to become more like convenience stores and less like old- fashioned gas station stores.

Robert Razowsky of Rmarts LLC, owner of the Shell at North and Gary avenues, said making money on fuel alone is a "tough model" in today's economy.

"We're in the process of going through the village for review and permitting to remodel (our) station," Razowsky said. "And a big piece of that puzzle to put it together and make the economics work is trying to get as many things into that property as we can."

Richard McMahon of Bucannan Energy, owner of the Mobil under construction at Army Trail and County Farm roads, said gas station owners have always tried to sell other things besides gas to make a profit. Now, the stations are becoming a destination for grocery items, he said.

McMahon wanted a liquor license so much that he had sent the village a check for one before finding out the village board hadn't yet considered an ordinance allowing such liquor sales.

Guy Morgano of Parent Petroleum Retail, who represents the owner of the BP at St. Charles and Schmale roads, said their business could expect a 25 percent to 30 percent spike in sales in the first year beer and wine sales are introduced.

"As (a part of) the gasoline industry and a convenience retailer, we haven't been immune from any of the problems that any other business has gone through in the last couple years," Morgano said. "If there's a new product or service that's available, we'll do our best to offer that to our customers."

The three business owners spoke to the village board at the request of Trustee Don Weiss, who tabled consideration of the ordinance at a board meeting last month.

Weiss was the lone vote against the measure in a 4-1 tally. He previously said there were other businesses in town that already sell alcohol, and the village could be setting itself up for a "public safety issue."

Police Chief Kevin Orr said Monday the police department isn't opposed to the ordinance since "as we look at it, it's just another convenience store."

Only beer and wine sales would be permitted at gas stations -- not other types of alcohol -- and the sale of individual cans or bottles would be prohibited. Sales of beer would be limited to six-packs or more and sales of wine could not be sold in anything less than a total volume of 748 milliliters.

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