Naperville decides alcohol OK at hair salons

  • The 18 I 8 Fine Men's Salons location in Naperville could be one of the first two salons cleared to apply for a liquor license in the city. The franchise owner first sought permission before the store opened in December 2015.

    The 18 I 8 Fine Men's Salons location in Naperville could be one of the first two salons cleared to apply for a liquor license in the city. The franchise owner first sought permission before the store opened in December 2015. Marie Wilson/Daily Herald, December 2015

  • Ten Friends Blow Dry and Style House could be one of two Naperville hair salons allowed to seek a new liquor license to sell up to two 12-ounce beers or two 6-ounce wines to guests. The salon plans to open this fall at 95th Street and Route 59.

      Ten Friends Blow Dry and Style House could be one of two Naperville hair salons allowed to seek a new liquor license to sell up to two 12-ounce beers or two 6-ounce wines to guests. The salon plans to open this fall at 95th Street and Route 59. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/9/2016 3:08 PM

Persistent pitches from two hair salons that want to sell alcohol in Naperville appear to be hitting the mark.

Liquor commissioners this week unanimously recommended approval of a code tweak that would OK alcohol sales at licensed salons and let 18|8 Fine Mens Salons and Ten Friends Blow Dry and Style House be the first to apply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"These are pretty upscale storefronts," liquor commission member Joe Vozar said about the shops -- 18|8 on the north side of town in Freedom Commons just south of I-88 and Ten Friends on the south side at 95th Street and Route 59. "If it were going to work, I think it works here."

But to gain alcohol privileges, salons would have to apply for a $2,200 yearly permit, buy all of their alcohol through distributors, meet storage and security requirements, get server training for all of their employees and pledge to serve no more than two 12-ounce beers or two 6-ounce glasses of wine to each customer.

The pricey license and list of regulations are meant as a "partial deterrent" to prevent all 121 hair salons in Naperville from adding drinks to their service, Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Steve Chirico said.

Leaders know anecdotally that many salons without liquor licenses already give away drinks as what liquor commission member James Ostrenga called a "business courtesy." So there's some concern a high number of them will want to gain legal permission to continue doing so.

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After all, Chirico said, the purpose of issuing a license would be to ensure the safe sale and consumption of alcohol at salons -- not to ban it altogether.

But before any hair styling businesses can apply for the new liquor license -- which adds salons as a "lifestyle amenity" to the Class M recreation facility classification -- the code change requires city council approval.

If approval comes and too many salons seek licenses, liquor commission member Chuck Maher suggested the panel consider imposing a cap, possibly by dividing the city into geographic regions and limiting the number of salons in each region that can sell drinks.

"We'll see in a few months what response we'll have," Chirico said.

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