Local businesses cited for underage alcohol and tobacco sales

Drinking and driving - Photo by Praisaeng

From March 4 to March 18, Southington police, along with CT Liquor Commission agents and the STEPS Coalition, conducted checks of local bars, restaurants, package stores, supermarkets, and stores. Three local businesses were found to be non-compliant with the state’s rules for selling alcohol to minors, and 12 locations were found non-compliant with the town’s ordinance on underage tobacco sales.

The investigations began on Friday, March 4, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Two minors (19 years old) were used to conduct controlled purchases throughout Southington, at establishments holding liquor permits.

Fireplace, at 44 Center St., and Casa Margarita, at 2176 West St., were the only two businesses to fail the compliance check. Both establishments requested identification from the minors but failed to properly identify them, selling to a minor with a valid underage ID.

The investigation concluded on Friday, March 18 when investigators swept through off-premises establishments from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Three minors (19 years old) were used to conduct controlled purchases at package stores and supermarkets.

Top’s Supermarket, at 877 Meriden Waterbury Rd., was the only business to fail the check. They requested identification from the minor but failed to properly identify them, selling to a minor with a valid underage ID.

Fireplace, Casa Margarita, and Top’s Supermarket will face possible liquor permit suspensions and/or fines through the Administrative Liquor Permit Process with the State of Connecticut.

The town’s tobacco checks were held between noon and 5 p.m. on March 12. The detail was divided into two teams with two officers assigned to each team. Each team inspected a predetermined group of businesses, which sell Tobacco products and Tobacco Delivery products.

Town Ordinance 193-7 reads, “That no person or business shall allow the placement for sale of any tobacco or nicotine products or delivery products and smoking devices (e.g. potential paraphernalia) including but not limited to electronic cigarettes, pipes, bongs, hookah, and rolling paper at any location with public access.  They shall be behind any checkout counter or customer service counter.  Along with the regulations for sale of tobacco products, all tobacco delivery products and any smoking devices shall be both locked and placed behind the counter to prevent undue influence onto minors.”

A total of 28 locations were checked to be in compliance with this ordinance, and the following 12 businesses were found to be non-compliant”

Sunoco at 474 Queen St.; Rite Aid at 500 Queen St.; Shell at 655 Queen St.; Citgo at 682 Queen St.; Cumberland Farms at 909 Queen St.; Rite Aid at 167 Main St.; Citgo at 202 Main St.; Royal Plus Food Mart at 212 Main St.; Gasman at 570 Main St.; Westview Convenience at 662 West St.; Valero at 802 West St.; and Mobil at 956 West St.

Each of the non-compliant businesses were issued a warning letter advising them that they had 30 days to rectify the ordinance violations, or they would be subject to a Town Ordinance fine.

The employee’s information was gathered, as well as the establishments Manager’s information.  A follow-up will be conducted after 30 days to ensure that these establishments are now in compliance.

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