Frankford’s Quickie Mart owner wants to expand

A Frank­ford Av­en­ue con­veni­ence store own­er who wants to ren­ov­ate his prop­erty and also sell beer got an ear­ful from a few op­pon­ents dur­ing a meet­ing of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation.

Harry Pa­tel, who co-owns the Quick­ie Mart Ex­press at 4346 Frank­ford Ave., told the civic group’s mem­bers that he has lost about 30 per­cent of his busi­ness to his many small neigh­bor­hood com­pet­it­ors and feels the best way to re­coup that rev­en­ue would be to re­mod­el his es­tab­lish­ment and be­gin selling beer.

At­tor­ney Joseph Beller said takeout and on-site beer sales would en­hance and save Pa­tel’s busi­ness. He ad­ded that Pa­tel and his em­ploy­ees would scru­pu­lously check IDs to make sure minors aren’t able to buy their brews at his es­tab­lish­ment and that any­one who wants to drink on the prop­erty would have to or­der food as well.

Beller said Pa­tel has been re­cog­nized by the city for strictly en­for­cing the ban on ci­gar­ette sales to minors. 

Those as­sur­ances aside, said loc­al busi­ness­man Chris Gulledge, al­co­hol can lead to crime prob­lems and the neigh­bor­hood already has plenty of places to buy al­co­hol as well as plenty of crime.

Gulledge told Pa­tel that he didn’t know him and had noth­ing against him per­son­ally but re­peatedly said Frank­ford shouldn’t be home to more out­lets for al­co­hol.

Pete Specos, the as­so­ci­ation’s zon­ing of­ficer, said Pa­tel is only now just mak­ing plans and must go through the state’s pro­cess of ap­ply­ing for a li­cense to sell beer.  He also must get Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment OKs, Beller said.

“He will make the ap­pro­pri­ate ap­plic­a­tions be­fore the Li­quor Con­trol Board and be vet­ted for char­ac­ter and lack of crimin­al­ity,” Beller said. “He will more than qual­i­fy and be worthy of your trust.” 

Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quiñones Sánchez, sug­ges­ted that beer sales would end with people hanging out and drink­ing nearby.

“It’s not a con­cern that Harry has the wrong in­ten­tions,” Dawkins said, “but al­co­hol plays a role in crim­in­al activ­ity.”

Beller said the fact that food would be served and that there would be seat­ing en­cour­ages a dif­fer­ent kind of cus­tom­er.

“I think this is a well-thought-out plan,” he said.

“From a busi­ness stand­point, it prob­ably is,” Gulledge re­spon­ded. “From a neigh­bor­hood stand­point, it isn’t.”

“It is just not the prop­er thing for this neigh­bor­hood,” said Kim­berly Wash­ing­ton, co­ordin­at­or of North­east EPIC Stake­hold­ers and pres­id­ent of the Frank­ford Parks Group. She ad­ded she was sur­prised that more people did not ex­press their op­pos­i­tion at the Nov. 3 meet­ing.

Specos said Pa­tel was in­vited to the civic group’s ses­sion in Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus to “make his pitch to get the com­munity’s view­point” be­fore he in­vests in fur­ther plan­ning and go­ing through the LCB’s and zon­ing pro­cesses.

Pa­tel said his busi­ness has taken such a hit in the last 10 to 11 months that he was in danger of go­ing un­der if he couldn’t find more rev­en­ue.

“Is the beer really go­ing to save the busi­ness?” res­id­ent Mi­chael O’Bri­en asked.

Tracy O’Drain, man­aging dir­ect­or of the Frank­ford Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion, praised Pa­tel for his long re­cord of com­munity in­volve­ment and gen­er­os­ity, but ad­ded she had ad­vised him his plans would meet with strong res­ist­ance.

“I told him this is what is go­ing to hap­pen,” she said. “I en­cour­age him to talk to oth­er people.”

In an­oth­er zon­ing mat­ter, mem­bers gave their OK to a briefly dis­cussed plan to house a day-care cen­ter in the Path­way Evan­gel­ist­ic Church at 4837 Frank­ford Ave.

The civic as­so­ci­ation’s next meet­ing will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in the second-floor meet­ing room of Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus, 4900 Frank­ford Ave. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or

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