Liquor/Convenience Store Coming to Gregory and Oak?

Residents of Brookside and Waldo like to support locally owned businesses…but a recent proposal to operate a convenience/liquor store near Gregory and Oak has met with fierce neighborhood opposition.

The lease for SRO Video is up–and a young couple from Boonville is trying to lease the space to operate the Cloud 9 Grocer.  Sam and Zarin Vishnani met with nearby homeowners last week to talk about their plans.  The (almost) 2400 square foot store would sell ‘what people want to buy’ –  including ic cream, milk, eggs, fresh sandwiches, pet food and packaged liquor.  The couple estimates 30-40% of the store would be dedicated to liquor sales.  Operating hours ‘to start’ would be 9am-10pm, and they anticipate opening in approximately four months.  The Vishaninis operate a convenience/liquor store in Boonville and feel there is a need for one in this location.

Of the forty or so neighbors that attended the meeting–not one was in favor of having liquor sold at this location.  Many people welcomed the idea of a convenience store but are opposed to the liquor sales.  Mr Vishani does not want to operate a store that doesn’t sell liquor.  Residents expressed their concerns about lower property values, increased crime, robbery attempts, trash and excessive noise.  One gentleman spoke from experience–he owned a convenience store for several years and said the top problems he encountered were: trash, crime and noise.  All agreed that the Vishaninis are very nice people and would love for them to move into the neighborhood–but a convenience store that sells alcohol will not be supported.

What’s next?  There is a 45 day review period with the city; city and state approval are needed and homeowners within a certain distance of the proposed store can voice their opposition.  Joe Perez of the Regulated Industries Division (Kansas City MO) is the person in charge of moving along the license process and listening to neighborhood concerns.  There is a local homeowner who is heading up the opposition–gathering the necessary signatures to properly present to KCMO.  As a member of the Armour Hills Homes Assn board, I will bring up this matter at our next meeting May 18 and , with board approval, will write a letter opposing liquor sales at this location.

Personally I don’t want to see an empty storefront in place of SRO Video.  That was a great store–friendly, service oriented and locally owned.  Alas times have changed and many people don’t patronize ‘video’ stores–even the name seems out of date now.  However, I do not want packaged liquor sales in this area so close to residents.  There are two full service liquor stores within several blocks — we don’t need another one.