UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A storefront on Chicago Avenue that once housed an office for a Ukrainian-language newspaper could become the new home for Beer Run Chicago, a liquor store specializing in delivery.
The first step in seeking the green light from the community for Beer Run Chicago is a bright orange public notice for a packaged goods liquor license, which is posted in the window of 2216 W. Chicago Ave., about two blocks west of Damen Avenue.
"Beer Run is for people that are already drinking and want to have a good time. This will bring it to them," owner Tony Wojewocki said.
Wojewocki, a 34-year-old entrepreneur who has a professional background in transportation logistics, said he tried to open Beer Run in Wrigleyville about a year ago, but it "didn't work out with the zoning" in Ald. Tom Tunney's (44th) Ward.
"My whole business concept is based on delivery service, and in order to get a liquor license I had to have somebody walk in from the street and purchase products at a store too," Wojewocki said.
Wojewocki said he wasn't prepared at that time to offer a walk-up store, but he plans to have one on Chicago Avenue. The store would be secondary to Beer Run's core business of delivery, he said.
Ultimately, Wojewocki said he "wants to be like the Google of liquor delivery in Chicago," meaning when people think search engine they think Google, and when they think "liquor delivery" he'd like them to "think Beer Run."
Wojewocki has been making rounds to community groups such as the Ukrainian Village Neighbors Association.
Paul Matwyshyn, president of the group, said his association would like to establish a "plan of operation" with Wojewocki to set an expectation of the amount of walk-up sales that he can transact.
"We don't want too many walk-up liquor stores in the neighborhood," Matwyshyn said."There's not too many liquor stores other than Dominick's [just west of Damen and Chicago avenues], and liquor stores can be an attraction for crime."
Provided they are able to put together that plan, the group expects to vote on whether Beer Run should be granted the liquor license at its next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m Sept. 19 in the basement cafeteria of St. Helen School, 2347 W. Augusta Blvd.
While Wojewocki claims to have "nothing but support" from the local aldermen, residents and police commander, Ald. Fioretti (2nd) was unable to be reached for comment, nor was Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).
While there are other liquor stores that offer delivery, such as Armanetti's on the northeast corner of Grand and Western avenues, Wojewocki said Beer Run would be, to his knowledge, the "only one specializing in delivery."
Beer Run would charge $5 for delivery on top of the cost of the beer, wine or liquor, and its delivery area will be bound by Irving Park Road on the north, Roosevelt Road on the south, the lakefront on the east and Western Avenue on the west, Wojewocki said.
Wojewocki said he plans to hire independent contractors to work for Beer Run, who all must pass a Basset certification course which will give them training on how to properly check IDs to ensure Beer Run only sells to customers age 21 or older.
Wojewocki said Beer Run will offer the "top five beers," such as Miller, Heineken, Bud Light, Coors Light and Corona, in addition to wines such as merlot, Pinot grigio and Pinot noir that Beer Run could deliver to tapas and BYO restaurants. Beer Run would also offer liquors such as vodka, whiskey and tequila and common mixes such as water, cranberry juice and club soda.
Carlos Munoz, a local landlord and partner in Spalding Law Center, at 2218 W. Chicago Ave. next door to the Beer Run storefront, said he thinks the business "is a cool idea if you don't want to leave the party."
Munoz added: "But sometimes you want to leave the party."