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updated: 4/29/2014 1:30 PM

Prospect Heights refuses Walgreens a full liquor license

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  • Unlike some other Walgreens stores in the Northwest suburbs, the one in Prospect Heights can't sell hard liquor.

    Unlike some other Walgreens stores in the Northwest suburbs, the one in Prospect Heights can't sell hard liquor.
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Prospect Heights on Monday stood behind a small independent liquor store, and turned down a request from a Walgreens to expand its liquor department beyond beer and wine sales.

The Walgreens in question is at Camp McDonald and Elmhurst roads, across the street from Discount Liquors.

Mayor Nick Helmer, acting as liquor commissioner, made the decision to reject Walgreens with no objection from members of the council.

"Sometimes we have to have a sense of community," Helmer said after the meeting.

"When we have a liquor merchant directly across the street and hear both husband and wife plead to be able to remain in business, you have to look hard at the situation."

Kathleen and Harry Patel, owners of Discount Liquors, told the council they selected that location when the Walgreens chain stopped selling liquor.

"We have been happily serving the people of Prospect Heights for over 10 years," said Kathleen Patel. She added that since Walgreens resumed selling beer and wine their revenue is "definitely down."

If the drugstore is allowed to sell a whole assortment of liquor, "I am really, really afraid that they're going to put us out of business," she said.

No one representing Walgreens spoke to the council.

During the meeting Helmer said he was not inclined to give Walgreens a full liquor license, but added the council could vote on it. However, no alderman said anything.

Helmer said Walgreens made no mention of selling hard liquor less than a year ago, when the corporation applied for a beer and wine license.

"Walgreens will make it with or without a full liquor license. Their business is medicine," said Helmer. "If Walgreens leaves because of the city not giving them a full liquor license I wish them well."

Still, he said, he's not inviting them to depart. "The last thing I want is for Walgreens to leave. It's a great name and a great location in our city," Helmer said.

Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect are among municipalities that have recently given Walgreens locations licenses to sell liquor.

Walgreens can appeal the Prospect Heights decision if it chooses, including an appeal to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

In 2011, the state liquor commission reversed a decision by Arlington Heights not to award a license to the Mago Grill, a downtown restaurant.

After the state commission's decision, Arlington Heights issued the license.

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