November 24, 2014

Mostly clear

Former Shopway to reopen

The former Shopway Food Mart on Lave Avenue is scheduled to reopen as Popsway Food Mart. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

The former Shopway Food Mart on Lave Avenue is scheduled to reopen as Popsway Food Mart. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — The Lake Avenue building that housed a business that was shuttered by police after they say the operators were selling synthetic marijuana and running a food-stamp fraud operation will soon reopen under a new name and new management.

The owner of the Shopway building at Lake Avenue and Furnace Street has signed a lease agreement with a new tenant. A name plate on the building now says Popsway.

Ali Alawi, the owner of the building, reached a settlement with the city earlier this year that dismissed him from the nuisance lawsuit against the business and allowed him to rent the building to other tenants. In exchange, the city was granted the right to prior approval of any potential tenants who may be subject to a background check.

Alawi’s attorney, Kenneth Frankel, said all information about the new tenant was given to the city to satisfy the agreement, but he does not know if any background check has been performed.

“The city is aware a tenant is moving in and is satisfied,” he said.

Law Director Scott Serazin said police are performing a background check.

“But we are not complete with the check yet, so there’s not much I can say,” he said. “But keep in mind the agreement only requires they give us the name of the building operator. We can only take it so far. If that person is a front person or something else, there is nothing we can do.”

Serazin said he would have more information once the check is complete.

Frankel said Alawi, of Avon Lake, will have limited interaction with the business owners just as he had with Shopway’s operator, Thaer Mustafa.

City prosecutors never linked Alawi to any criminal activity at the store.

“All he does is find a tenant as the building owner and collect rent,” Frankel said. “My client doesn’t want any problems because he doesn’t want an empty building again. It’s not in his best interest.”

Mustafa continues to face several charges related to allegedly selling spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, and running a food-stamp fraud operation at Shopway in 2013.

He also faces charges for allegedly selling counterfeit items at another business, IMT Wireless, in downtown Elyria.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Mark B

    Should of never let them open it back up , its nothing but a eye sore and degrades the area.

    • Chan

      LOL have you seen the housing in that area? That building blends right in!

  • Chan

    Rode by there yesterday and was shocked to see it back open. I believe there is a convenient store right up the street, not sure how if their business will be hurt by this.

  • Kim

    Will be the same problem/different name.

  • fun man

    ghetto store just more drug deals in the parking lot

  • Daisy

    well you all seem so vocal about shopway…. “Popsway” whatever you would like to call it. I think you all should stop being so critical about an establishment that none of you have even been in. Talk about the houses that are in the area. Blame the people who own the homes and rent to people who devalue their homes. Talk about the number over over doses in lorain county…. hell talk about the low test scores that lorain counties children have and why its the fault of their parents. Talk about and be critical about something you all can change. not something you as an individual have NO CONTROL OVER.

    • Mark B

      Yea . like all of the Government Housing in Elyria, and all of the lazy People who make a career out of living on welfare , pop out babies so they can sponge more money off the government , with no intentions in giving the kids a proper up bringing . You mean things like that ?

      • stillsleepyeyes

        no not that………..the stuff like government workers driving around all day or arguing over petty stuff and asking for more money and hiring there own kin…………you know everything but what they are suppose to do……………

      • Daisy

        i agree there are people like that all over. lorain county is heaven compared to the rest of the section 8 and welfare recipient counties. But i do feel you fools should fight a battle you could win! If you can afford to pay…. then plat… buy pops out… nd shut the store down…. or shut up up about it. No matter what store gets shut down another one will be opened up. Money talks….. how much are yall voices being heard…

  • Chipper

    what the hell does it take to close it for good and tear it down? it’s not like it adds any kind of positive economic impact. in fact, it probably costs the city money.

    • Sean MacNair

      What will it take? Probably arson.

  • Scout

    When the old store closed it was easier driving through that intesection. Now people will be crossing willy nilly and we have to watch for pedestrians again.

  • taxpayer89

    How long before it gets closed again. Mustafa probably signed it over to another family member to carry on his illegal activities.