Letter to the Editor: Council Should Remove Liquor Sales Subsidy with Lemon Tree

Resident unhappy with proposed sales tax rebate agreement between Village, Lemon Tree.

From community member John Schofield:

I sincerely object to the Village of Downers Grove the liquor store business contained in this measure.

Otherwise the Village is encouraging the business () to , and at the expense of tax-collecting competitors in Downers Grove.

The original agreement was to gain a "grocery store" for downtown Downers Grove, and instead we have a and handy liquor store that incidentally sells some high-priced groceries.

Please revisit the original intent and remove liquor sales from the subsidy.

Thank you!

CM May 07, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I think it's great to see two successful hardworking men bring a unique concept to our town and it's wonderful to see that they are constantly evolving to meet the demands to make LTG feel like home. It brings in people not only from DG but from surrounding towns who appreciate the multiple services that they offer. There are young & established families who can identify with such a unique store. It has brought excitement to this town, it has been a gathering place for men and women of all ages, families, too! They support the community whether it be to host a spot for GNO or to support a local charity. I have been at those events and have seen Tim/Shaun give back and sometimes out of their own pockets. They have gone as far as being the main venue for a local that runs for charity 2 yrs in a row. They care & want to see charitable work be successful,they get involved. There is NO way that any other establishment would care like they have proven to do. They are a part of this community. Whether it be grocery shopping, hosting parties, or enjoying a cocktail there with several friends, it's the best out there. Zest offers a warm and relaxing atmosphere whether you are inside or on the best outdoor patio. I consider LTG to be the heart of downtown DG and I am certain that they will continue to evolve as successful businessmen would. With the success of one store can only bring more businesses to a growing community. Kudos to you, Lemon Tree, you are in a class of your own. :)
Cliff Grammich May 07, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Grocery stores have to locate where they can draw customers, no? I'm not about to drive to Kendall County to buy groceries, though I understand stores will build there for the new populations there. I find it interesting that while DG retail sales from food stores decreased in 2011, those in other communities, including Wheaton and Naperville, increased. (See http://www.melaniphy.com/sites/default/files/2012-Retail-Sales-Report.pdf.) Do those municipalities use sales-tax rebates to attract stores? I don't know, but would like to. Regarding Standard Market, did it receive a sales-tax rebate like Lemon Tree received? Again, I don't know, but would like to.
Mark Thoman May 07, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Lemon Tree is pretty neat. I don't see where John Schofield has a problem with the business, the letter says they shouldn't get sales taxes rebated back on liquor sales. Shaun Black says the liquor sales are 1% of their total, so it's not a big deal-breaker.
Kent Frederick May 08, 2012 at 05:59 PM
If you pay attention to what goes on in municipalities, a lot of people in high level positions (village manager, director of public works, etc.) move around, because villages learn who is talented and lure them away with better pay and greater responsiblilites. Remember that George Graves was hired as police chief of Downers Grove after serving in that same position in Western Springs for a number of years. DG offered more money and new challenges that WS couldn't. I moved to DG in 1998. There have been at least 4 village managers in that time span, Dave Feldman, Cara Pavlecik, Ricardo Ginex are the names I can remember. I believe Ginex's predecessor was hired away by another municipality. That's a fair amount of turnover for 14 years. Considering that Dave Feldman has established a reputation as a good village manager, the last thing we need to start another candidate search, because Feldman resigns to accept an offer with another city or village that offers better pay and greater challenges. Yes, we're in a bad economy, and many people aren't getting raises. By the same token, I know a number of people who have changed jobs, despite the economy, because of lack of raises or promotions. People don't stay out of loyalty as they did 30 or 40 years ago. You don't need an MBA from Harvard, NU or U of C to understand that it's cheaper to retain good people than to hire new people, who may or may not pan out.
William Vollrath May 09, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Just would like to clarify that the projected $14,000 tax rebate is, in reality, an expense to taxpayers who now won't have use of that money in the Village budget because it will be retained by LT. I don't believe the philosophy behind this specific quasi-grant is quite as clearly justified as some believe. The merits of LT and of the tax break are not the same issue. At some point most businesses must make money without dependency on government handouts. If the rebate allows LT more time to figure out a profitable model fine, if it just keeps a bad model alive, not so fine...


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