November 28, 2014

Intermittent clouds

Operator of former Shopway opens new store downtown

ELYRIA — A new business has been opened in downtown Elyria by one of the operators of Shopway Food Mart, which the city had shuttered this spring for alleged illegal activities that made it a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Thaer Mustafa has turned an empty storefront into a cell phone retailer. The newest venture, IMT Wireless, opened in early July. The new store is located next to Powerhouse Gym and Metro PCS and sells cell phones, cell phone accessories and clothing.

Mustafa has been using Facebook to direct former Shopway customers to the new location and the responses from supporters have been great with social media friends congratulating him on the opening.

Despite the pending court case to determine the fate of Shopway, attorney Michael Stepanik, who represents Mustafa, said there is nothing prohibiting Mustafa from opening a new business.
“A nuisance case does not stop anyone from earning a living,” he said.

Additionally, Stepanik said Mustafa is not worried about the stigma of being associated with Shopway.

“If he thought that way, he wouldn’t have opened,” Stepanik said. “The fact is I think there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have and will patronize his business because of the good he has done in the city.”

Mustafa is one of two former Shopway employees local authorities charged with selling spice, a synthetic form of marijuana. His case and that of a second former employee, Hesham Ayyad, are pending in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin said several people have told him about the new business, including residents that are worried about the clientele the store may draw.

“But I know it’s not the kind of place you can get a liquor license,” he said. “It’s a commercial district with no parking lot for people to hang around in, so it will be a different situation.”
Police Capt. Chris Costantino said so far officers have not fielded any complaints to the address.

“I just want them to operate their business in a lawful and respectful way,” he said. “That’s all we ever wanted from Shopway and it’s what we want for any business in Elyria. We welcome business, but it has to follow the laws and city ordinances.”

As for the original Shopway, it remains closed. A temporary restraining order shuttered the business, and Serazin is hoping for a permanent order.

On Monday night members of City Council’s Community Development Committee unanimously voted for the city to object to the renewal of the business’s liquor license as a safeguard in the off chance the city loses its fight to keep Shopway closed.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121

  • Spec440

    Cell phones, cell phone accessories, and clothing. Oh……and spice. Sweet.

    • MOE

      unless you been in the store and seen what they have to offer dont down anyone who trying to make a living… this is what is wrong with the world… every one deserves a second chance espically the guys from shopway…and they were closed because of the actions of the people in the neighborhood not because they were doing wrong but the people in the neighborhood… if im not correct there was two deaths around the neighborhood since they been closed… SO WITH THAT THAER I WISH YOU NOTHING BUT THE BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR STORE…

      • Bob Sweatt

        Wait hold the phone….
        You are honestly saying that it was because of the people in the neighborhood. Not because they (meaning the owners) were selling illgeal drugs and committing welfare fraud at the store. That got Shopway shut down??
        Just how delusional are you??

      • ken

        i’m with you moe good luck Thaer!

  • Sami

    i love how its a bunch of hoity toity white people who never had the nerve to patronize shopway who have so much crapy things to say! GO THAER! Welcome back!

    • Bob Sweatt

      I am guessing the white person thing is in reference to me??

      First thanks for bringing race into it. All I am saying is to Moe that it wasn’t the neighborhood that got Shopway closed down. It was the actions of the people who worked and patronized Shopway, that got Shopway closed down.

      If you want to be mad at someone. Be mad at the woman who runs the bakery that was working with Shopway. She is still up and running. How fair is that???????

      • MOE

        so lets get this right… its ok for the thugs in the community to go around causing problems for all these business… you dont care for them to be open because of the crowd which i can understand but the police should have done something about the crowd a long time ago its only now that the community is being effected by it… people are losing their jobs business are being shut down for the actions of the people who live in this coummity and guess what they go hang out at another spot and get that one closed.. we need to stop blaming these onwers and start dealing with the real issues… the thugs, drug dealers, druggies, and start slapping the cuffs on them and making them pay for there actions…

        • Bob Sweatt

          The only thing I see you saying is, “Let’s blame everyone else and not the owner’s” The owners had to have known what was going on. An informant for Elyria PD bought drugs in the store. Plus the welfare fraud that was going one. If the owners of Shopway didn’t know that was going on. They were turning a blinded eye to it.

          You want to blame everyone else but the true people at fault. That is your own business. But I am calling you out on your BS.

    • Mark B

      No one with any amount of class would be caught dead in a Dump Like ShopWay , For one I would be afraid of bringing Cockroaches home from there in anything that I bought .

    • Tamra Tury

      Sami, You sound like a hoity toity racist!

    • Lisa

      I’m not “HOITY TOITY” but I AM WHITE and I DID shop there ONE time, (ONLY) and my experience was not very good. The “man” at the register was making inappropriate comments and was extremely “sexist”. I don’t have an opinion about the new store and if other people want to shop there that’s their business. We live in America and we have the “right” to shop wherever we choose. Some people like to shop at WALMART and some of us don’t… LOL (have a great day!)