State revokes Kalamazoo party store’s liquor license after history of selling to minors

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-27 19:12:28-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Howard’s Party Store in Kalamazoo has a documented history of selling to minors since 2005. Now the Michigan Liquor Control Commission revoked the store’s liquor license.

A Kalamazoo Safety Officer stood by the back doors of Howard’s, located on the 1300 block of Portage Street at the intersection of Stockbridge Avenue, as a Great Lakes Wine and Spirits truck along with a U-Haul truck was loaded with the store’s alcohol. This proved to be a point of confusion for streams of regular customers who walked up to closed doors Wednesday afternoon.

On Aug. 22 Robert Mourning, administrative law judge with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, revoked the liquor license from Manani Inc., or Howard's Party Store, and ordered all alcohol to be impounded and disposed of.

This after the store owners bought bottles of liquor and cigarettes from an undercover agent, who posed saying that merchandise was stolen, on Sept. 24, 2013. A court hearing had been held on July 17, leading to this latest ruling.

Howard’s regular customers told FOX 17 that they know the store has a history of selling to minors. Yet local residents like Stephen Sabo said they thought the owners were operating a legitimate business.

“I saw them card pretty much everybody that went through that door unless they knew you,” said Sabo. “It just really seemed like they were doing straight business."

In addition to store owners buying what was believed to be stolen goods to sell in their store, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the party store sold to at least six minors since 2005. To see a list of incidents click here.

Officials with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission told FOX 17 that the party store owners can still appeal this decision from Aug. 22 to the administrative commissioners.