Mac’s Market, a grocery store in Isla Vista, will reopen its doors Sept. 17 after a 15-day suspension imposed by state alcohol control authorities for violations stemming from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
The store was shut down Sept. 2 for two counts of selling alcohol to a minor – in February and April of this year – and one count of keg violation in 2003, said Ed Macias, district supervisor for the Santa Barbara branch of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) department.
The owners of Mac’s Market are now required to sell their off-site liquor license to another party, Macias said. California law regarding off-site alcohol sales includes a three-strikes provision where a business is required to sell its liquor license if three violations occur within a 36-month period. Licenses for off-site sale of alcohol are tied to a specific business at a specific location. When ownership of the license changes hands, the business must also be sold.
“We never accepted guilt. We volunteered to accept the suspension, and the cashiers sometimes make mistakes,” said Sean Badvar, Mac’s Market general manager. “We could have gone to court for two weeks [and contested the suspension].”
NBK, Inc. is currently in the process of applying for ownership of the license, but Macias said it is unknown when the change of ownership would be complete. Because the application is for a change of ownership of the license and not a new license, the general public is usually not involved in the process, he said.
“Predominately on a person-to-person transfer, when there is just a change of ownership, [the determining factor is] going to be the moral character of the new party coming in and the financing of the new party coming in,” Macias said.
If granted the license transfer, the store’s new owners will be required to adhere to three specific conditions, Macias said. Mac’s Market would be prohibited from making home deliveries of alcoholic beverages and selling wine with an alcoholic content greater than 15 percent by volume, except for dinner wine. It would also have to use two reliable methods when checking identification, including an optical scanner and an ultraviolet light.
Mac’s Market has a policy of having all cashiers check for I.D., Badvar said.
“We tell the cashiers that the most important thing to do here is checking I.D.,” he said. “They sign affidavits saying they promise to check I.D.s, and if they don’t, they are fired immediately.”
Badvar said that while the ownership of the store is changing, the management and staff would remain the same.
“We will still be the best supermarket here, with the lowest prices and the friendliest service,” he said.
Mac’s Market is the second business in I.V. to recently have its off-site liquor license suspended. The ABC department suspended SOS Liquor’s license in May because of alcohol sales to minors.
“There are always students with fake I.D.s, and it could have happened to anyone,” Badvar said.
With $150,000 in grant money received from ABC over the past year, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol has recently stepped up its enforcement of alcohol regulations governing local liquor stores.