Walgreens: One-stop shop for ... alcohol?

Menlo Park drugstore asks to sell beer and wine

Next time you stop at Walgreens, you might be able to pick up a six-pack to go with that aspirin. The drugstore has asked Menlo Park to let it sell beer and wine, a request that reminded at least one resident of last year's battle over allowing a Beverages & More (BevMo) to open in town.

Barbara Rosasco handed out a statement at the Hometown Peninsula meeting on June 6 to share her concerns. The statement cited the number of stores already selling alcohol in the city -- at least 19 now, counting BevMo -- and questioned whether "easy access to alcohol" at the store, which sits at 643 Santa Cruz Ave., would entice panhandlers, lead to public disturbances, and otherwise mar the "family-oriented home town atmosphere."

She also pointed to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's requirements for issuing alcohol permits that include a demonstrated "public convenience or necessity," and that the permit not prove detrimental to the welfare of the city."

Those requirements were frequently tossed into the heated debate over BevMo's permit application, along with concerns of economic damage to local merchants such as Beltramo's and Draeger's.

BevMo won its years-long battle. But Walgreens is struggling to obtain permits in other Bay Area locations, including Palo Alto and San Francisco.

Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger described the store's planned offerings as limited, saying the beer and wine selection would take up only about 2 percent of shelf space.

"Our small section won't feel like another liquor store in the neighborhood," he said. "We're known across the country as a very responsible retailer; we've been in business since 1901. We're going to create a safe environment for someone to occasionally buy a bottle of wine."

The drugstore chain carried a full liquor selection during the 1990s, but according to Mr. Elfinger, Walgreens stopped once the displays proved too cumbersome for managers. The move to start carrying alcohol again comes in response to customers asking for a one-stop shopping experience.

The use permit may come before the Menlo Park Planning Commission on Monday, June 27. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center, 701 Laurel St.

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Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Go for it. Get the booze and the drugs in one quick stop. Sleeping pills and cheap wine are an especially attractive combo.

Like this comment
Posted by R. Gordon
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Is there ANYTHING the old ladies in this county don't oppose?
It is getting to be laughable. I pray for the day when they legalize marijuana and gambling.
The old biddies will ask for a wing at Stanford be built with the money left to them by forty niners.

Like this comment
Posted by Interested Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Won't it be interesting to see how Maureen Hogan weighs in on this one when she isn't backed by the Beltramos.

Like this comment
Posted by been there
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I support it. All this political hot air, restricting free enterprise and open competition gives me a headache. The wine will calm my nerves. I can save gas and reduce traffic by going to just one store.

Like this comment
Posted by Go Green
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

So we want people to drive around town and pollute our plantet when they can get it all they need in one place? Beltramos doesn't sell hycolonic solutions.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Honestly, it does seem a tad unnecessary when Trader Joe's is so close, but I deeply grok the uber-convenience factor.

On another note, as often as we shop at Walgreen's, I've never thought of it as having a "family-oriented home town atmosphere" & I don't mean to insult the store. As fun as drugstore shopping can be, call me old-fashioned, but I prefer family get togethers, picnics in the park, The Nativity Carnival & community gathering places to Walgreen's for "family-oriented home town atmosphere."

As for disturbances - well, small children there cause many a disturbance - their mighty shrieks, grabs in the toy aisle, etc. are a "public disturbance" if you want to be picky, which Ms. Rosasco comes across as.

Imagine the convenience of shopping at Walgreen's, buying a card for someone & grabbing them a lovely bottle of hooch when you pick up you anti-anxiety meds. Perfect convenience!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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