Two senior writers at City Council Watchdog take different positions on the question posed in our recent poll, “Should Walgreens in Downtown Naperville be allowed to sell liquor (adult beverages)?”. Their takes are below in this City Council Watchdog exclusive Point|Counterpoint.
Watchdog’s Take (Walgreens Should Not Be Able To Sell Liquor In The Downtown Naperville Location)
Downtown Naperville Where Chaos Meets Mayhem
Walgreens, “The Pharmacy America Trusts”, “Where Happy Meets Healthy’. Wow, it doesn’t get any better than that does it? It sounds like Utopia or Iowa. That’s where we all want to be isn’t it? And what could make the experience even better? How about being able to haul packaged liquor out to your car, and getting a cheap buzz-on before venturing a couple of blocks north to downtown Naperville where chaos meets mayhem near the corner of Chicago and Washington. No matter what direction you head towards from there you’ll find loads of people and loads of establishments more than willing to intensify the buzz with all sorts of libations.
And if by chance those establishments pull the plug on your desire to keep intensifying, you can always go back to ‘The Pharmacy America Trusts’ to get some brew-to-go and a carton of cigs before trying to find your car and venture out into the night.
Walgreens is seeking and will get Naperville city council approval to sell liquor in all but one Walgreens store in Naperville; that one store is the downtown store. Walgreens wants approval, but will not get it….yet. The Naperville city council wants to approve that store, but won’t, at least not yet anyway. Walgreens wants the profit liquor will provide, and city officials want the tax dollars that liquor sales will provide.
So why not approve it now? Well, city officials say that Walgreens is the victim of bad timing. A couple of downtown liquor-related deaths, and a lot of downtown liquor-fueled kerfuffles resulting in mayhem and chaos created the bad timing. If Walgreens suits and city officials are waiting for the right time, they might be waiting for a long time.
Watch and listen to councilman Joe McElroy, as he takes the discussion to an interesting point, when he asks the Walgreens representative about the logic of selling cigarettes where ‘happy meets healthy’ in the ‘Pharmacy America Trusts’.
Kudos to McElroy for asking the brain teaser, however take-away the ‘kudos’ for not pressing for an answer. The Walgreens suit answered with a non-answer in the spirit of Naperville city manager Doug Krieger. And yes, the topic was liquor, not cigarettes, but it would have been nice to get a straight answer. This is supposed to be where ‘happy meets healthy’, not where political double-speak meets corporate double-talk.
And why in the world would Walgreens and city officials prefer to have a pharmacist on duty when liquor is available for sale? Maybe it’s so the pharmacist can slide a case of beer and a carton of cigarettes through the prescription pick-up window. Pharmacists are required by law to provide counseling when dispensing, so the questions would be ‘do you want a six-pack or case’, and ‘do you prefer regular or menthol’ ?
Guard Dog’s Take (Walgreens Should Be Able To Sell Adult Beverages In The Downtown Naperville Location)
In Naperville, Favoritism Doesn’t End At The Corner of Happy & Healthy
Walgreens is looking to the Naperville city council to assist with giving the people what they want. The people have asked that the nation’s largest drugstore chain sell adult beverages. While in normal situations, this would not be an issue, but the Naperville city council has put alcohol on their to-don’t list and they are pushing back on Walgreens and are trying to prohibit the sale of alcohol in the downtown location (on the corner of Aurora and Main).
It seems that the Naperville City Council favors certain businesses over others. The Lantern, Twisted Olive and Tasting deVine are all located in the downtown area and all offer packaged liquor for purchase and consumption elsewhere. It wasn’t too long ago that The Lantern had a tax issue and was on the verge of having their state issued liquor license revoked due to tax issues.
Additionally McDonalds was too successful of a business model to be on the corner of Washington and Hillside (former Citgo location). Now that the council shot down the McDonalds, it looks as if the site will be used for a Dunkin’ Donuts. Both McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts serve food but apparently the city council was not pleased with the McDonalds business model. The McDonalds block could have also been because Burger King is just down the road. I am not sure who owns the Burger King but the city (along with North Central College) own the desolate plot of land next door. Perhaps allowing McDonalds would have affected sales at the Burger King and was blocked. Using this same thought process, would allowing Walgreens to see liquor affect the sales of The Lantern, Twisted Olive or Tasting deVine.
Not liking a business model is made plain by councilman Joseph McElroy when he pushes the Walgreens representative to see if perhaps Walgreens would consider no longer selling tobacco products then the council would allow liquor sales (video below).
While the council cannot control everything, they can certainly try. Give the people what they want. If people don’t want liquor sales at the Walgreens downtown location, then the people will place their votes by not buying the adult beverages. After all, cash is king.
When anyone can walk into Chipottle, Noodles & Company or any number of “Restaurants” in the downtown area why should Walgreens be singled out and not allowed to give the people what they want? It all reminds me of the unnecessary panic spurned by this 1936 film.
That’s the guard dog’s take…and have a perfect day.