If a customer is underage, the equipment will physically lock out the sale of the alcohol. Employees are also ordered to take a course on selling alcohol. Hamati previously had his license suspended in May for 10 days and was fined $1,850 by the Liquor Control Commission for the December 2009 violations. The Grove Road store was also cited for selling alcohol to a minor in 2005. Township Attorney Doug Winters said the penalty is harsh by LCC standards, but he would like to see the liquor license at the Grove Road location revoked permanently.
“The punishment has to fit the actions of the crime, and, to some extent, I don’t think the 60 day suspension goes far enough,” he said. “I think they have the worst party store in this area and it takes quite a lot to earn that kind of distinction. They should be dealt with according to what they have caused us at the township to go through. “The stores have become more of a liability in this township as opposed to being an asset.” The township has the option to oppose the reinstatement of Hamati’s license following during an annual renewal process to which all establishments selling liquor are subject. Hamati said the store is a different place than it was last year. “I have an undercover cop coming in every day, and it is very clean,” he said of the Grove Road store. “When I take over the place from the manager, I removed the adult magazines and turned into a nice family store. Customers are happy to see it.” The LCC is also ordering Hamati to comply with all township ordinances and bring the building up to code.
A township inspection of the two properties found numerous code violations, and attorneys stated in a complaint filed with the Washtenaw County Circuit Court that the buildings constitute a public nuisance and threat to public health. The township wants the court to order Hamati to address the code violations and improve security at the stores. A hearing on that issue with Circuit Court Judge Melinda Morris was delayed and will take place later this month, Winters said. He said Hamati has been active in making improvements at the two properties but said the buildings aren’t fully up to code. Among the property maintenance code violations listed in the complaint are damaged fascia and trim, loose gutters, an unsecured electrical box, damaged siding, debris on the roof, deteriorating and unsecured posts, excess vegetation, derelict sheds, a damaged billboard in one parking lot, sign code violations, exposed wiring inside the store, a blocked and locked back door, faulty wiring, an unsecured overhang and a trip hazard at the entry of one store. “We fixed the buildings and they are up to date,” he said. “All we need to do now is some painting.” Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to the Grove Road property 130 times in 2009 and 2010, and two people were shot there in January. Hamati said he wasn’t present at any of the incidents where alcohol was sold to minors and isn’t responsible for the manager’s actions. “I wasn’t there, the manager was running the business,” he said. “Sixty days is a lot and I lose a lot of business, but God is good, things happen for a reason and we can deal with 60 days. But if they revoke the license, that will kill our business.” Winters said the township will still likely oppose the renewal of the license. “I believe the township has reached its breaking point and the community has had enough with what goes on there,” he said. Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. For more Ypsilanti stories, see our Ypsilanti page. I'm glad to hear that if this place is to continue to sell liquor that they will be required to scan drivers licenses. The strip on the back of our licenses was put there for a reason. If you're not doing anything wrong then it shouldn't cramp your style to oblige. This store is the closest to my house but I haven't purchased anything, including gas, there in more than 20 years. I stopped going while it was still named Stop and Go and had the nickname of Stop and Rob. Does the DM on the store front stand for Disfunctional Mart? What happens to the individual clerk that sells to minors? While the i.d swiper sounds like a good idea the clerk is still responsible for making sure that the patron matches the i.d. "The LCC ordered the license suspended for 60 days and is requiring Hamati to install electronic scanners that require employees to swipe customers' driver's licenses or identification cards." I find this concerning. More information that is being collected and stored about customers.
I know I certainly would be wary about shopping at a store that required a scan or swipe of my drivers license to complete a sale! Yes, but you probably wouldn't care that much if you collected returnables, scrounged or begged for change, or otherwise hustled throughout your day to make the money to buy a couple of drinks like many of the patrons here seem to do. You can't sell alcohol without a license, you can't buy it if you are under age, and you can manufacture it with the intent to sell without a license. If you're wary of the process required to ensure lawful purchasing and sale of controlled items (alcohol, tobacco, firearms & explosives) then perhaps you'd better enjoy the freedoms and anomynity afforded by a country that doesn't control these items? i suspect a substantial hurt on that place of business (eyesore) w/the alcohol suspension.