November 28, 2014

Elyria
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Lake Avenue store retains liquor license

ELYRIA — An Elyria convenience store that came under fire this summer for attracting late night crowds and drug activity has retained its liquor license because it agreed to reduce its hours of operation, Elyria city and police officials said.

Dairy Mart on Lake Avenue was able to avoid a liquor license hearing with the state Division of Liquor Control on Wednesday because the store’s owners agreed to work with city officials and liquor agents.

The biggest stipulation: The Dairy Mart had to scrap its previous hours of operation — open 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and instead remain closed 1 to 5 a.m., seven days a week, Dairy Mart manager Sed Naser said.

Elyria police filed a complaint with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control this summer, objecting to the renewal of Dairy Mart’s liquor license because it was a hotbed for late night activities and early morning goings-on, said Elyria Councilman Forrest Bullocks, D-2nd Ward, who is on the city’s community development committee.

Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said his department and Dairy Mart were able to iron out a compromise that clearly said the business should close by 1 a.m. each day.

The store’s new hours took effect at the beginning of October — a test-run of sorts — and Eichenlaub said police have had few, if any, problems at the business since it changed hours. 

Bullocks said the agreement was completely voluntary on the business’ part. 

Naser said the arrangement has hurt the store’s income slightly — it was open 24 hours a day for years — but they’re making the best of it and trying to do their part.

Dairy Mart fared far better than another nearby business, Gas USA on Middle Avenue, which was denied a liquor license last month because it was found to be contributing to that area’s criminal activities, the state’s Division of Liquor Control said.

Contact Shawn Foucher at 653-6255 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.