Naperville is in a tight retail sales race with Schaumburg, and Naperville finds itself in second place among Chicago area suburbs. Second place does not sit well with Naperville city officials, which, in part, is due to Naperville not having a regional shopping center as Schaumburg does.
Without the sales and tax revenue from a huge shopping mall, Naperville has to make up the difference from somewhere, and that ‘somewhere’ opportunity comes from the category of restaurants and bars. Considering Naperville’s surge in sales and tax revenue from restaurants and especially liquor within the last decade, it’s just a matter of time before Naperville can claim to be the liquor capital of the Chicago suburbs.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder the mayor of Naperville Steve Chirico (also the liquor commissioner) requested and received the green light to add two seats to the liquor commission, increasing the total of members from seven to nine. According to Chirico, he wanted the increase to ‘add more viewpoints’. If adding two creates more perspective which makes it better, it would seem that adding four more would make it twice as good, and adding another 20 would make the perspective crystal clear.
Considering liquor consumption in Naperville is increasing, a nine-member liquor commission has never been this large before, and it may never be this small again with increasing emphasis on adding liquor licenses in Naperville. If city officials can think of more ways to add liquor license categories, the sky is the limit for sales and tax revenue. Walmart’s unwritten motto is “you make it, we’ll sell it. Naperville’s motto could be “your brew it or distill it, we’ll sell and consume it”.
Naperville city council’s latest effort to overtake Schaumburg is an ordinance change allowing downtown sidewalk businesses to sell alcoholic drinks. Naperville’s creeping ordinance allows five downtown restaurants/bars to obtain a permit to sell liquor in front of their establishments. The ‘creeping’ factor means in time the five-limit will change to ten, which will change into 25, and then 50, and well, you get the idea.
Voting against allowing businesses to sell sidewalk-alcoholic drinks were council members Paul Hinterlong, Patty Gustin, and Rebecca Obarski. The vote was 5 to 3 in favor of the ordinance change, with Becky Anderson not present.
One of the stipulations is that it will be the restaurants and bars responsibility to make sure pedestrians have five feet of sidewalk space available for passage. In addition to all the equipment police officers need to do their job, they will now need a handy-dandy tape measure.
Imagine trying to navigate, with your children while carrying shopping bags, through downtown Naperville, or someone using a walker next to a family member attempting safe passage around plates of chicken wings and beers, or worse yet, someone in a wheel chair trying to avoid rolling off the curb into oncoming traffic. Personal injury attorneys are celebrating.
Naperville city officials are determined to be number one. If they can’t overtake Schaumburg this year in liquor sales and tax revenue, they definitely can do it with the number of attorneys on staff defending law suits.