January 28, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Meets With Responsible Retailers Group to Improve Liquor Store Appearance, Safety and Quality

Liquor Retailers Asked to Make Aesthetic Improvements; Improve Signage and Product Display in and Around Store; Improve Beverage Selection and Customer Quality; Provide Security and Public Safety During and After Store Operating Hours

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today met with Aldermen, local liquor retailers and distributors who are part of the City of Chicago’s Responsible Retailer Initiative, a community partnership formed to improve the community citizenry of area liquor establishments.

“We are asking liquor establishments to do what is right in their communities, to be responsible retailers, to become more involved in the communities they serve, to improve the area and quality in and around their stores,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I want to thank the Aldermen who have worked with local liquor retailers and distributors to develop this initiative and provide a guide to help liquor retailers support community improvement to ensure public health and safety.”

The City of Chicago Responsible Retailer Initiative was developed by Aldermen who collaborated with local liquor retailers, Chicago Beverage Systems and all of the other beer distributors servicing the City of Chicago to design and implement a Responsible Retailer Guide as a quick reference tool for area liquor retailers.

Willie Smith, Sales Manager for Chicago Beverage Systems, said, “We applaud the Mayor’s office, the Aldermen and all the local retailers involved. By working together, we are strengthening the public health and safety in the Chicago communities in which we work and live.”

The goal of the program is to stimulate community improvement throughout Chicago through increased accountability and engagement from area retailers.

The Responsible Retailer Initiative Offers Standards for:

  • Aesthetic Improvements to your location
  • Display of Signage in and around the store
  • Improving the Beverage Selection and Customer Quality
  • Security and Public Safety during and after store operating hours

The Responsible Retailer Initiative has created a guide that is intended to reduce a unique and growing set of problems arising out of the operation of businesses engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages on Chicago’s south and west sides.

The City of Chicago regulates the retail sale of alcohol. Wholesalers and manufacturers of alcohol in Illinois are regulated by the State Liquor Control Commission. However, the Responsible Retailer Initiative has created a guide that asks retailers to take the initiative to “Be a Good Neighbor,” and demonstrate their willingness to work with their community.

In addition, the Responsible Retailer Initiatives is working with the Urban Initiative Plan (UIP) fund to support local events and cause-related projects.

The Responsible Retailer Initiative offers standards for store appearance and store quality:


Aesthetic Improvements

Conditions that must be followed:

  • No Placement of alcohol related products near candy or other items children may frequent.
  • Lighting – Stores should be will lit inside and out.
  • Displays and fixtures – Must be properly maintained, placed appropriately, and not falling down or in disrepair.
  • Have a process for minimizing property and public litter – Maintain the area in and around the store to keep it clean.

Suggested Requirements:

  • Security bars should be removed from doors and windows to “open up” the appearance of the store

Signage & Product Displays

Conditions that must be followed:

-Window Display Management

  • The placement of a temporary sign on a window or the transparent portion of any door requires a directors permit and is allowed on the first floor only, and cannot cover more than 40% of the window, nor be used for no more than 90 days each calendar year. Permanent signs require design review.

Suggested Requirements:

Appropriate Display of Women –Do not display explicit photographs or images of women


Beverage Selection & Customer Quality

Conditions that must be followed:

  • No consumption of alcoholic beverages on-site or in adjacent areas
  • May not sell beer or malt beverage products in containers.

Suggested Requirements:

  • Eliminate single-serve signage.
  • Eliminate high-alcohol, low-end brand signage
  • Feature premium brands (beer, wine, spirits).
  • Price single-serve 22oz and 40oz cans or bottles at a minimum of $2.00
  • No outside price signs (banners, paper or coroplast) on walls, fences or windows.


Conditions that must be followed:

  • Must discourage loitering or being a gathering place for loitering.
  • Maintenance Logs – Keep a log of all suspicious activity in and around the area.
  • Policing Litter – Maintain area in and around the store clean.
  • Police Contacts – Cooperate with police and meet local district commander.
  • Loiterers – Keep them away from your store and surrounding area.
  • Community Safety – Participate in community policing or safety meetings.

Suggested Requirements:

  • Regularly attend CAPS meetings.

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Photo Caption 1: Mayor Emanuel Meets with Members of the Responsible Retailers Initiative

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins - City of Chicago