THE LOOP — Tensions were high at the third community meeting for a controversial liquor store on the Near West Side.
Adam Foods & Liquors could have lost its liquor license at Wednesday’s City Hall meeting, but city representatives decided to give it another chance.
At the last meeting on Dec. 13, property owner Ahmed Keshta said the store had closed and plans to reopen were still up in the air.
But new property manager Faye Masoud said she and her husband took over the property the next day.
Confusion over whether the liquor store had been closed, combined with efforts on the part of new management to spruce up the place, prompted city attorney James Potter to give the store another chance.
“Now we have a whole different animal we’re dealing with,” Potter, of the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said at the meeting.
While the new managers have added security cameras and cleaned up the store, many residents at the meeting said crucial changes — like removing loiterers outside the shop — have yet to happen.
“Nothing has changed since the last meeting except the liquor store opened back up. Nothing has changed at all,” said Murial Tate, a nurse who lives around the corner from the shop.
Near West Police District officer Ron Pontecore agreed.
“Methodically, every time I drive by this place there are 10 to 12 individuals hanging out in front,” he said.
But several people at the meeting defended Adam Liquors' right to be in the neighborhood and said they had seen dramatic improvements since the new management took over.
Fioretti has vehemently opposed the liquor store’s presence in the neighborhood, even going so far as taking a video of what he described as “rotting produce” in another store managed by the same duo that runs the shop.
“This is the kind of management we want to run a whole block?” Fioretti said.
Citing multiple police incidents at the store over the last month, Burnett said he sided with Chicago police.
“This is profound when I hear the police say nothing has changed,” he said. “To me, that says it all. Why are we even having this meeting anymore?"
Masoud said she wasn't surprised by the crowd’s reaction, saying it would take time to win the trust of the neighborhood.
“I feel good. It’s fine, it’s normal,” she said.
Masoud also runs Fay's Food & Meat Market at 5512 W. North Ave. She said that in the past, she's created Easter baskets for needy neighborhood kids and put together school supply sets.
As a business owner, Masoud said she is invested in the community where she works.
"We spend the money in the community. I don’t live in a mansion. I live in a two-bedroom condo," she said. "Without the community I have no business."
The next community meeting on the store is 10:30 a.m. April 24 in Room 805 of City Hall, 121 S. LaSalle St.