JPNC Safety Committee Recommends Approval of Chauncy Liquor Mart License

By Adam Swift

The new owner of the Chauncy Liquor Mart is promising to clean up the Washington Street market and keep a closer eye on loitering and littering outside the store. Tuesday night, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Public Service Committee voted to support the proposed license transfer at the Chauncy Liquor Market to Brad Nyguyen, with Trang Ho acting as manager. The recommendation will now go to the full neighborhood council for a recommendation vote to the Boston License Commission. Nguyen is also the owner and operator of Cambridge Wine and Spirits at the Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge. Public safety committee and council members questioned Nguyen about the current state of the liquor mart, his plans for the future, and potentially working with a nearby liquor store in Egleston Square to adjust their early morning hours. In addition to addressing issues at the store, Nguyen said he plans to make improvements to the parking lot across the street from the liquor store. Overall, public safety committee and JPNC members were happy with Nguyen’s public outreach efforts and plans for the store. Nguyen said he plans to address issues with drinking and loitering in front of the store, as well as to provide better lighting, trash barrels, and improved security within the store. “I will install trash barrels on the exterior of the store and will be contracting with a third party to clean up in the front of the store,” said Nguyen, adding that store employees will also be responsible for cleaning up in front of and around the store on a day-to-day basis. Nguyen was also asked if he planned to sell miniature alcohol bottles at the store. Several surrounding communities have banned the small bottles, and the Boston City Council is currently considering a ban. “For the issue of the miniature bottles, what’s happening for this location is that it makes up almost 20 percent of the annual revenue of the store, and frankly, it would jeopardize the business if I chose not to sell it,” said Nguyen. “Egleston Square Liquors, which is four houses down from us, changed hands in 2021 and was able to retain it. If we cut out the ability to sell miniature bottles, we will lose business to them.” However, both Nguyen and Egleston Square Liquors owner Carlos Castillo said they would be willing to meet once the Chauncy Liquor Market transfer is approved to discuss opening hours for the stores. The current license allows Chauncy Liquor Market to open at 8 a.m. Nguyen was also asked about how the store would deal with intoxicated people attempting to buy alcohol. He said Ho, the proposed manager for the store, is TIPS trained and certified, and that all employees would get the same training. Nguyen said he would also create a database of intoxicated individuals who attempt to buy alcohol on multiple occasions, and they would be banned from the store. Safety committee member Louise Johnson noted that during a past liquor license hearing, the committee discussed the need of the store for the neighborhood. Safety committee Chair Michael Reiskind said the issue could be brought up again, but noted that Chauncy Liquor Mart and Egleston Square Liquors have co-existed in the same neighborhood for decades. “I think that if there were not two liquor store licenses in the same block for the last 20 to 30 years, this would be the number one issue on whether a second package store should be permitted there,” said Reiskind. “But since there are two, it’s a different climate.” In other business, newly elected JPNC members Leah Simmons and Willie Mitchell volunteered to serve on the Public Safety Committee in the coming year.

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