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Rochester plans a crackdown on problem convenience stores, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. The stores can be magnets for drug dealers and loiterers. They illegally sell loose cigarettes or drug paraphernalia. Some engage in welfare fraud. Some sell expired and unhealthy food. Some sell diapers individually, a tremendous markup for poor people.

Through zoning, code and police enforcement, the city wants to get a grip on the issue. The number of convenience stores is going up. On Sunday, the D&C’‘s Brian Sharp wrote a very detailed story on what’s going on, estimating there are 350 corner stores in the city:

How to clean up the bad stores, support the good ones and, at the same time, encourage more healthy offerings is a challenge no city appears to have solved.

At City Hall, an emerging plan would tighten enforcement and only allow corner stores into residential areas if they offer fresh produce and limit their offering of tobacco, alcohol and lottery to one but not all. Stores that sell all three might be relegated to major commercial corridors and prohibited from locating within 500 feet of each other.


At City Council suggestion, Rochester also is considering whether to require sales tax returns for business permits to ensure the shop is on the up and up, and looking at ways to take on tobacco and alcohol license enforcement the state could be doing.

Chicago may revoke business licenses of corner stores.

In communities where people are poor and don’t have cars, convenience stores fill a need. The USDA has an interactive map showing food deserts in the country. Zoom into Rochester, and you’ll see there are census tracts where 100 percent of the residents live more than one mile away from a grocery store.

Links of the Day:

– The Democrat and Chronicle published a provocative op-ed from a woman who thinks MADD has too much power and anti-booze laws are too strict.

– Niagara Falls is the victim of a really bad casino deal crafted by the Senecas and the state.

– A raise for state lawmakers? The Albany Times Union says they deserve a pay cut.

– There’s a helium shortage and it’s affecting Upstate New York balloon sales.

8 Responses to Convenience Store Crackdown

  1. July 9, 2012 at 8:50 am Mary responds:

    While they are at it, “barber shops” should be investigated. It’s strange how many of these pop up barber shops are filled with customers after midnight!

  2. It looks like the city is on the right track for tackling this. I never heard of the diaper thing until just now, that is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. It would be nice if there was enough money in someone’s budget (City, County, State, or Federal) for subsidized loans to open up stores with good incentives for those who play by the rules and harsh punishment for those that do not.

  3. July 9, 2012 at 11:03 am theodore kumlander responds:

    how about this legalize drugs. that would go a long way to cleaning up those corner stores.

  4. July 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm Sheila Griffin responds:

    It looks like to me someone is trying to find an escape goat. The convenience stores provides a service for the community. If any wrong doing is being done it’s because the Big Boys allowed it. Let’s crackdown on the real issues like poverty, lack of jobs, and education. Just to name a few. If the big supermarkets didn’t packup and leave. We may not be talking this easy problem for the Rochester’s Officials to fix.

    • July 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm Sheila Griffin responds:

      We may not be talking about this right now. This is an easy problem for the Rochester’s Officials to fix. My correction to my post…

    • Awesome comment Sheila. Dead On!

    • October 3, 2012 at 9:02 am Havahd St responds:

      Did you mean “scapegoat”?
      I think this “food desert” is flawed. It shows the whole South Wedge as a food desert, yet Mise en Place Market is right in the middle of that tract.

  5. July 10, 2012 at 12:00 am Mittens responds:

    I’m all for legalization, that’s not why I’m 100% for this crackdown. I got jumped a few days ago outside of a corner store where about 15 kids were loitering. These corner stores and the people posting up outside of them are sketchy people. Maybe now they’re scramble out a little bit or get lost for good…

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