Nine Chelsea liquor stores have hired an attorney and filed an appeal with the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) regarding last May’s ‘nip’ ban of small alcoholic beverage bottles (100 mL or less), a policy that was renewed at a recent meeting in September.
Attorney Louis Cassis has filed an appeal with the ABCC on behalf of Chelsea Liquors, Inc. (Heller’s); 180 Broadway Liquor Inc. (Chelsea Liquor Mart); Pamukhan Corp. (Bridge Liquors); Canadian Liquors, Inc. (Broadway Variety 2); Finemart, Inc.; KB Corp. (Yogi’s); Nilam, Inc. (Caribbean Liquors); SAR Convenience, Inc. (Shop N Go); and Banwait Liquors, Inc. (One Stop).
The policy was enacted after several hearings last spring aimed at reducing litter and preventing vagrancy in areas around liquor stores. Many in the public and the Commission felt that the small liquor bottles were an enabling factor to the litter and the vagrancy.
Another provision in the policy was they could not sell any alcohol product under $3.
Attorney Cassis said his clients felt the change altered their licenses in a way that made their businesses suffer.
“The Board’s action in prohibiting the sale of containers of spirits of 100mL or less and imposing a voluntary ban on containers priced below $3 is a modification of the liquor license within state law,” read the complaint. “The action of the Board is so modifying the license was unsupported by substantial evidence; arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion…; unsupported by specific findings of fact or by the evidence; based upon error of law; made upon unlawful procedure; violative of its own policies and procedures; and in excess of the statutory authority of the board.”
The attorney said his clients sought a review before the ABCC and would reverse the actions made on his clients.
The ‘nip’ ban was followed up by an effort to also ban small bottles of 250 mL or less, but that effort was tabled in favor of a voluntary ban that is being promoted among the liquor store owners.
The review before the ABCC will likely be a test case for the entire state as many urban municipalities have also sought to ban ‘nip’ bottles from their licensed package stores. Already, Everett has taken a step in that direction as well as other surrounding cities.
It wasn’t magic, but rather someone creepin’ ‘round the corner. Alex Tran performed ‘Mack the Knife’ by Bobby Darin (and/or Louis Armstrong) during the Chelsea High School Talent Show on Friday night, Jan. 19, in the Auditorium. Scores of acts took the stage to display their talents for students in attendance.
By Seth Daniel
Chelsea’s Mimi Rancatore has constructed a life around an ice cream cone, and to date, it’s been topped with sprinkles.
Rancatore has lived in Chelsea since 2001, but during working hours she spends her days in Cambridge at the world-renowned Toscanini’s Ice Cream and Coffee in Central Square – a business she has co-owned with her brother for more than a decade.
Toscanini’s has been around since 1982, when Rancatore’s brother, Gus, started the business after training in ice cream making at Steve’s Ice Cream in Davis Square. Rancatore, who also worked at Steve’s and learned a lot about ice cream, worked in fine dining at many notable restaurants until joining her brother a little over 10 years ago.
“I love my job and I love Chelsea,” said Rancatore this week at her shop in Central Square. “I love wearing multiple hats in business and I love being in charge. Both Gus and I worked at the old Steve’s Ice Cream in Davis Square in 1975 and 1976. Steve started the parlor ice cream. He invented the mix-ins. We worked there and then we went our separate ways. Gus is the ice cream maker, which he is excellent at, and I do the business end. Don’t get me wrong, I can make ice cream and I can cook, but Gus is really good at it. I was into fine dining for a long time, but got sick of the hours and joined Gus as a co-owner about 11 years ago. The best way to describe Toscanini’s is it’s an adult ice cream store. We have a lot of flavors for children too, but we have some complex ones as well. I love working in an ice cream store because it’s happy food. Everyone is happy here.”
Rancatore was born in the New York City/New Jersey area, but she and her five siblings spent their high school years in St. Louis. Her brother Gus had already left St. Louis and settled in Boston when Rancatore graduated high school. She said she couldn’t bear to go to college and knew the academic world wasn’t for her. Gus said he could get her a job at Steve’s Ice Cream, so at the age of 19, Rancatore left St. Louis for an ice cream job, and she continues that tradition to this day – though she and her brother have pretty much climbed to the top of the East Coast Ice Cream world.
Toscanini’s has a truly incredible following, with several Best of Boston awards and numerous Top 10 lists – with the New York Times once calling it the best ice cream on the planet.
The most popular flavor in the store is the B3, a concoction of brown sugar, brownies, browned butter and burnt caramel.
“The most popular flavor is B3 and has been for awhile,” she said. “Right now, our chocolate is outselling vanilla. It didn’t used to be that way, but now the two have reversed in popularity. My personal favorite is malted vanilla, but we are doing some very exciting things with our new soft serve offerings, including a twist of chocolate rum banana with malted vanilla.”
Rancatore lives on Beacon Street in Chelsea and has been around long enough to see her condo go from very desirable to very undesirable and the, back to desirable. She serves on the Chelsea Cultural Council and is a big supporter of the Apollinaire Theatre and the Chelsea Girl Scouts.
She said she often thinks about the future of Broadway Chelsea and compares it to the successful climb of Central Square lately. One thing she said is there needs to be more restaurants, simple restaurants, on the stretch.
“There needs to be a go-to restaurant, something like Newbridge in Prattville,” she said. “When I imagine Broadway, that’s what I think.”
Rancatore said business is good and she relishes being able to spend her days in Cambridge and her private time in Chelsea.
“We’ve been very lucky and we’re doing very well with the business,” she said. “I love being able to work in Cambridge and go home to where I live in Chelsea. I really appreciate Chelsea and how in Chelsea the city councillors will go to all the events. You don’t get that in Cambridge so much. I think that’s great. There is a real community feel to the city.”
Anthony Ciapppina, 46, 7 Jefferson Dr., Revere, was arrested for trespassing.
Victor Dudley, 46, 153 Belleville Ave., New Bedford, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime, attempt to commit a crime, refuse to identify self, failure to yield at intersection, one way violation, failure to stop for police, furnishing false name, felony warrant and default warrant.
Katelyn Ferguson, 28, 86 Division St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Jorge Cora, 52, 36 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Angel Prates-Diaz, 18, 70 Waite St., Revere, was arrested for courtesy booking.
Colin McQuade, 46, 17 Louis St., Chelsea, was arrested for courtesy booking.
Manuel Chajon-Ramos, 36, 16 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed.
Jacqueline Trinidad, 29, 34 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested for unarmed robbery, sexual conduct for a fee, assault and battery, furnishing false name, malicious destruction of property over $250, warrants.
Joseph LeBlanc, 52, 57 Hutchinson St., Winthrop, was arrested for sexual conduct for fee, assault and battery, and malicious destruction of property over $250.
George Rovira, 18, 34 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime.
Mary Sackor, 29, 25 Seanford St., Boston, was arrested for intentionally, willfully and maliciously or wantonly damages, burn personal property, disorderly conduct.
Juan Perez, 35, 245 Eustis St., East Boston, was arrested for possessing Class B drug, conspiracy to violate drug law.
Shauna Keller, 24, 77 Columbus Ave., Braintree, was arrested for warrants and shoplifting.
Jeremy Lookdo, 31, 62 Falcon St., Boston, was arrested for shoplifting.
Jairo Rodriguez, 23, 150 Shawmut St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.
Daniel Ghidella, 46, 50 Kimball Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Abel Reis, 52, 204 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a felony warrant.
Fallon French, 32, 124 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Whitney Baskin, 30, 97 Broadway, Malden, was arrested on a warrant.
Jennifer Spinelli, 26, 28 Swan St., Everett, was arrested for being common nightwalker.
Stanley De-Vorce, 54, 466 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for indecent exposure, drinking/possessing open alcoholic beverage in public.
Nicholas Marcheti, 21, 194 Lincoln Ave., Saugus, was arrested for tagging property, trespassing, deface property.
Robert Rossetti, 59, 8 Carmel St., Chelsea, was arrested for drinking/possessing open alcoholic beverage in public, assault, resisting arrest, threat to commit crime, disorderly conduct.
Kelvin Vasquez, 35, 977 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for shoplifting and warrant.
Thomas Rourke, 54, Homeless, Boston, was arrested for shoplifting and warrants.
Jennifer Spinelli, 26, 28 Swan St., Everett, was arrested on a warrant.
Steven Mejia, 24, 63 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.
Ernesto Marrero Lopez, 57, 178 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for indecent exposure.
Jennifer Newcomb, 34, 24 Mason St., S. Weymouth, was arrested for sexual conduct for a fee.
Dominic Parrish, 20, 2 Parkway Ct., Chelsea, was arrested for warrants.
Michael Frada, 54, 8 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Mary Caraballo, 23, 472 Riverside, Lawrence, was arrested on warrants.
Ariel Zarzar Jorge, 20, 118 Orange ST., Chelsea, was arrested for failure to stop for police, unregistered motor vehicle, uninsured motor vehicle, unlicensed operating of motor vehicle, leaving scene of property damage.
Nain Montiel, 44, 87 Garland St., Everett, was arrested for drinking/possessing open alcoholic beverage in public.
Jose Aguilar, 48, 23 Orange St., Chelsea, was arrested for drinking/possessing open alcoholic beverage in public.
Chelsea is on the map when it comes to statewide economic development, and one top state official was in town last week to take in the scene firsthand – and to offer up assistance to keep the ball rolling.
Greg Bialecki, State Secretary for Housing and Economic Development, landed in Chelsea last Thursday morning for a cup of coffee and a tour beginning at Tito’s Bakery on Broadway.
“There was a time in Chelsea’s downtown when there was the potential for it to go in a very negative direction,” said City Manager Jay Ash during the tour with Bialecki. “He’s been an anchor and held it together.”
Tito Avellaneda added, “We never had grates on the windows or doors.”
Roy Avelleneda told Bialecki they would like to take advantage of wholesale opportunities and enhanced marketing.
“We’re seeing new and different people coming down here now and going to the businesses,” he said. “People from the waterfront are coming up to the CVS and they peek in to see what’s in here. They come in and they’re willing to explore. Those are people who weren’t here before. They feel now it’s ok to shop on Broadway. We want to market ourselves to them too. We’d love to become the Mike’s Bakery of Chelsea and we’ll get there.”
Afterward, Bialecki toured the New England Sculpture Service on Arlington Street to view the area’s creative economy, and then a taste of residential development at the upcoming One North Boston on 6th Street.
Following that, the new Residence Inn hosted a luncheon and question and answer session for Bialecki and local business leaders.
Virtually everyone in Chelsea business circles was present, including representatives from Cataldo Ambulance, Kayem Foods, Combined Properties, Wyndham Hotel, Compare Supermarkets, Harbour Food Service, ACS Development, Simboli Properties, Mark White and many more.
“When the secretary said he wanted to come to Chelsea, he said he not only wanted to talk to me, but also to all the businesses,” said Ash. “He wants to know how business is and what the state can do to help. We have a good thing going here and the reason is the relationships we all have here. Sometimes government can be a friend and sometimes it can be an even better friend.”
Bialecki told business leaders that Massachusetts has been fortunate in recovering quickly from the Great Recession – much quicker than the rest of the nation and also much quicker than previous recessions in 1981, 1991 and 2001. As a result of that, Bialecki said business and communities are hungry for development. Communities like Chelsea, he said, are particularly poised for growth as companies look for new, up-and-coming and untapped areas.
“We want to help businesses and what we can do is help to build an environment that lets you all be competitive,” he said. “I want to be able to convey the message of what opportunities are here. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of stories of optimism around here about Chelsea and where it’s headed. That is not a store widely told in the popular and business media.
“In some Massachusetts communities, they would rather hide some of that success under a blanket because they certain about new growth and are worried about the effect of new growth on the community,” he continued. “There is an environment in Chelsea to bring in new businesses and people here and that it can only create an even strong Chelsea community.”
Some of the major issues brought up by business leaders was bringing the Silver Line to Chelsea’s Everett Avenue corridor, and also to streamline the permitting processes throughout the state and local communities.
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Greg Bialecki, state secretary for housing and economic development, (center) visits on Thursday morning with Roy Avelleneda, Tito Avelleneda and City Manager Jay Ash. Bialecki took a whirlwind tour of the city’s business community and hosted a working luncheon at the Residence Inn.
A worker at Tito’s Bakery slices pieces of cake for sale in the store during last Thursday’s tour.
Stopping for a photo are City Manager Jay Ash, Secretary Greg Bialecki, Roy Avelleneda, Delia Lara, and Tito Avelleneda.
Pictured prior to the business luncheon at the Residence Inn are City Manager Jay Ash, Jeff Brudnick of Louis Brudnick & Sons Insurance, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Secretary Greg Bialecki and Anthony J. Simboli.
Secretary Greg Bialecki told Chelsea business leaders that the state is trying to help build an environment whereby businesses can stay competitive globally.