North Adams Establishments Hit With Day's Suspension

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The License Board handed down two one-day suspensions to a package and a liquor store for failing a compliance check.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two local alcohol stores were each handed one-day suspensions after failing a recent compliance check.

V&V Steeple City Spirits and Draper's Wine & Spirits were allowed to select which day they would close, both picking this Sunday, Aug. 24.

"It's the first failure for both and I'm sure the last," said Chairman Jeffrey Polucci on Tuesday. "But we did have 13 pass, which is the direction we want to go."

The compliance check on 15 establishments was done through a Northern Berkshire Community Coalition program. In the two violations, an underage individual purchased Mike's Hard Lemonade, a rasberry and a black cherry.

V&V manager Louis Matney Jr. said he had hired a couple new employees. The worker responsible for the error had not completed TIP (Training for Intervention Procedure) training but would be required to do so now.

Attorney F. Sydney Smithers IV, representing V&V, said, "Mr. Matney has taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Matney said the register requires a license or identification card scan but it's possible to override the scan; that will be changed to require management approval for an override or the sale will void. Still, some IDs have to be manually inspected, he said.

"I'm glad you've got something technologically that will help with this," said Polucci, but cautioned Matney to realize his business could be in jeopardy. "We checked you once, you failed once."

Mark Draper, of Draper's, also said he had new help that contributed to compliance failure.

"He's in probation with me now," he said, having brought his employee with him to apologize to the board.

Draper said he had been looking into a POS, or point of sale, system for his store to prevent such incidents. The programs run around $600 but adding the complementary electronic cash registers can cost up to $1,200.

"This is my livelihood ... I'm getting the severity across to them," he said. "If you have a lapse in judgement, no matter how cute she might be, I'll come down on you."

Polucci reminded both owners that they are responsible for their employees' actions. "Alcohol service is not a right, it's a privilege in this state," he said.

In other business, the board approved a Class 2 Auto License for Deals 4 U at the former West End Auto property 362 State Road and an increase of two vehicles for RJ's Auto increase by two vehicles at 429 Curran Highway.

The board had expected an update from owner Fahri Karakaya on TaBella Restaurant's beer and wine license but he was not in attendance. The Main Street restaurant has been closed after a falling out between Karakaya and the two men who had taken on its management. Anthony Donovan II and Tim Lanfair have moved to the former Red Sauce location and renamed it DeFazio's Italian Bistro + Bar; they are expected to appear before the Planning Board next month.

Polucci said he expected Karakaya to appear at the next meeting.

"If he does not come I will feel very strongly he is not a responsible license holder," he said.

Tags: license board,   license suspension,   liquor license,   

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