Frank Scire and his attorney Rashi Mangalick petitioned the North End Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) for support of a new malt and wine license at Going Bananas at the March NEWNC meeting. The council voted 6-1 in opposition to the license.

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Frank Scire, owner of Going Bananas, said he wants to offer a small, limited section of beer and wine to his customers to stay relevant with his competition (2:28).

Frank addressed the question of whether he’ll be taking business away from other shops (4:05) in saying he’s not trying to hurt anyone, he just wants to stay in business.

Sal DiGirolamo spoke on behalf of the nearby Wild Duck package store, strongly opposing this license (7:58). DiGirolamo pointed out that these licenses are not issued for convenience or for competitive reasons, but to meet a public need. He argued the need is already being met, as evident by the Wild Duck’s sales being down for the first time since they opened. Customers are not knocking down the door to buy goods, which shows there are enough options in the area to meet the need.

A community member also spoke out against the license (10:09), asking how many more liquor stores do we need in the North End? Frank pointed out that he’s not opening a new store, just adding products to his current one.

When asked about his plan on pricing (11:06), Frank said he plans to price his beer and wine similar to other shops in the area.


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31 COMMENTS

  1. There is absolutely no public need for another package store license in the North End. Residents and Airbnb folks can find beer and wine easily without adding another license. We need another package store like we need another restaurant or nail salon!
    People can buy beer and wine in the Boston Public Market, and on Salem St alone they can get it at The Wild Duck, Monica’s Mercato and the Salem Market On Hanover St there is Hanover Liquors , the Wine Bottega (wine only) and the 7-11 at Commercial St. .On Commercial St there is The Golden Goose and Bottles. Richmond St Verace Liquors . Endicott St Bob’s.

    • You basically named every market in this neighborhood, Now NEWNC
      Decides to not support a lifelong part of this community.

  2. So how is this different than voting in a liquor license for another restaurant? Is the council going to use the same rationale when x restaurant comes forward for a full liquor license or a new liquor license?

    How can we possibly say it’s OK for the Golden Goose to have a FULL liquor license to sell any type of alcohol yet Going Bananas gets denied? Were they just lucky enough to ask first? Capitalism decides if a neighborhood has enough of anything. This just makes things less convenient for shoppers. Going Bananas was just trying to keep up with the Jonses and have the convenience of one stop shopping.

    • In 100% agreement with “Anonymous”. Just because NEWNC shoots them down doesn’t mean the City won’t grant their license. Go for it anyway Going Bananas. You’ve been a business in the Neighborhood long enough to be supported!

    • Well, Anonymous, in response to your first point, the big difference between a new license being issued to a restaurant vs. a new one to a package store is that the package stores do not have the luxury of thousands of daily visitors coming into the neighborhood to buy a six pack or a bottle of wine in the way that they come to patronize the restaurants. Package stores pretty much depend on the limited number of residents.
      As for your second point, when the Golden Goose applied for their license 25 or 30 years ago, there was obviously a “NEED” in that part of the neighborhood, the waterfront, with such a boom in construction, and influx new residents.
      There is no such “NEED” on Salem street, and for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, one stop shopping doesn’t pass the test for “PUBLIC NEED”.

  3. Going Bananas is important to their side of the North End and should be able to provide all that the Golden Goose provides the Waterfront side of the North End. It provides items that are not a available at the Boston Market and keeps up with the changing needs of the neighborhood. A beer and wine license should be made available to the store and I hope they go forward with the request.

  4. This should be the topic for the next poll of the week.

    We should ignore our Puritan/Prohibition past and accept that the sale of alcohol is part and parcel of being a mature city. If Wild Duck has falling sales, then that is Wild Duck’s fault. Try something different to attract customers. We should not protect the established licensees simply because they existed first. Customers can and do vote with their feet (and dollars). Going Bananas should be able to get a license and try to compete with these other nearby businesses.

    • Moreover, shouldn’t all the places that sell alcohol (package stores, markets, convenience stores) in the North End be polled to see how THEIR sales were for the last year?

      But regardless, just because sales may be down, doesn’t mean you prohibit a new business. More competition is better for the consumer which doesn’t seem to have been brought up.

  5. Ther.e are very good points here, but does the Neighborhood Council have the final say? What is the owners recourse, can he appeal?

    • NEWNC and NEWRA discussions and votes represent community input to the decisions of the Zoning Board of Appeal and the City of Boston Licensing Board.

      • So in the end free enterprise wins out. I remember in the past the number 92 stands out as the North End limit. I’m ignorant of liquor licenses, but can you sell a license? By keeping the number artificially low you keep your own license as an investment and the price premium. This could explain the resistance to new licenses, as it would dilute the value of current licenses.

  6. I understand a letter is posted in Goinf Bananas encouraging people to visit this post and comment on this topic so I wanted to provide feedback as well. I would have liked to see a similar letter asking people to attend the meeting when it occurred rather than comment after-the-fact but that point is moot.

    NEWNC was created in 1985 as a partnership between the City of Boston and the North End in an effort to increase communication between the neighborhood and various city departments and agencies. Our support and/or opposition of an item that comes before us is advisory to the City of Boston.

    We do not encourage, as some suggested on this post, to ignore the results of the vote and bypass the community process when the result isn’t favorable as we believe it devalues the role NEWNC and NEWRA have to obtain community feedback on an issue and bring our collective voice to the city. Our meetings our open to the public and we encourage residents to attend and express whether they support/oppose an issue before us. Ultimately, of course, any person has the right to request a licensing change or zoning request with the city.

    As to this license, the Council voted 6-1 in opposition because a majority of Council members felt the community was adequately served by Going Bananas’ proximity to the Wild Duck as it’s approximately 100 feet away. The same cannot be said of the Golden Goose which serves that area of the neighborhood, as do the other stores (Bob’s, Boston Bottle, etc.) for their sections of the North End. Again, we came to this conclusion after community feedback at the meeting and making an assessment of the need.

    There was one vote in support with the Council member making the restaurant license comparison as some did in these comments, however, this analogy was not shared by the majority of votes and ‘community need’ seemed to be the overarching criterion.

    We welcome participation and value the opinions of members of this community we love so we hope to see you at our next meeting on Monday, April 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the Nazzaro.

    If you have any questions and/or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly at NEWNCBoston@gmail.com or find us on Twitter @NEWNCBoston or on Facebook (North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council).

    Thank you,

    John Pregmon
    President, NEWNC

  7. I am a Going Bananas loyal customer. We need more food stores in the neighborhood. Places for people who live and have family’s to buy Non convenience store food the kind the going bananas supply. We do not need a package store with a little food.

  8. I totally agree in capitalism, it makes for better compitition and also allows businesses to compete with the BIG BOX stores (7 eleven) who the same council allowed into the hood to sell alcohol… Also if you’re a business owner you should NOT be allowed to make decisions in a neighborhood you current run your business in!

    • Bobby
      Thank You !!
      That is all I am saying,
      The free capitol market system that I am fighting for my life to continue to operate in,
      Is set up so that the consumer choses how,when and with whom it wants to purchase their goods from.
      If I do not constantly adapt to what they want.
      I will be out of business like so many small shops before me.
      I detest corporate monopolies that have ruined the family neighborhood shopping experience in the rest of the country.They have stolen that sense of community from our children.
      I will fight as long as I can to keep my customers away from them.
      Roache Bros,Amazon,Pea Pod and so on.
      But as Bobby just stated I am fighting with one hand tied behind my back .When my own neighborhood counsel wont even support me.
      I am totally disheartened at their lack of support after investing my whole adult life in this neighborhood

  9. These are commercial operations, self subsidized and not supported by public funding. By doing business, the support their funding and do so by selling a product. They don’t support public needs, they sell their product in the best way they know how. Determining which business succeeds and how another company chooses to compete is nothing the NEWNC should determine. Some would say there is no need for alcohol in the neighborhood at all, not likely anyone would agree. But by the same token, whose to say that the Golden Goose isn’t taking business from the Wild Duck. It’s not that far away, they have a great selection and many walk by there everyday on the way to work. It’s like trying to limit the number of restaurants in the neighborhood. Not doing well at that.

    • We would have welcomed and appreciated these comments at our public NEWNC meeting when the applicant came before us on March 12th, 2018. I would like to reiterate and reference paragraph 5 in my reply above to emphasize the ‘community need’ as the largest and deciding factor of the Council’s majority opposition. Thank you!

  10. There are just over 100 alcohol licenses (serving establishments and retail stores) in the North End. That is, by population, two times the average in downtown neighborhoods and five times the average city-wide.

    • I will guess that most of these are owned by restaurants and we have the highest density of restaurants in the city. This establishment plans to offer this as a convenience to customers and take advantage of the verticle market which is good business practice. We see the same verticle marketing practiced by places such as CVS which sells drugs, pharmacuticals, sundries and groceries. Does the NEWNC decide what they are allowed to sell? They might decide they want to constrain them, but less face it, might makes right. I think this is a case of picking on a small business.

  11. Maybe this is in response to The Juicery moving onto Salem St right near Going Bananas…

    I’m sure smoothie and shake sales of Going Bananas is on a decline… shouldn’t the neighborhood protect the establishments here already? There was adequate supply of blended drinks with GB right there, won’t this move by The Juicery further drive GB sales down? If the Wild Duck can be protected against “infringing” establishments, then so should GB

    • For the record, there is a real law on the books regarding alcohol, and public need.
      There is no such law regarding smoothies.
      If you’d like to see that change, then, if I were you, I would start by paying a visit to the clerk’s office at the Statehouse, and get as much information as you possibly can about how laws are amended.
      All this hemming & hawing really doesn’t help the cause…………

  12. I believe I have properly addressed this matter, but please do not hesitate to contact us directly at NEWNCBoston@gmail.com with any other questions and/or concerns. I would be happy to answer any questions about the Council. I hope to see you all at our next meeting on Monday, April 9th at the Nazzaro as it’s critical and valuable to hear neighborhood feedback on items that come before us.

    Thank you!

    • Because you gave your opinion is that where we should stop discussing this topic? I notice there’s a lot of discrimination on this council, if you DO NOT fit with the local favorites there’s opposition. Keep in mind you’re only a recommendation a lot of times when said party goes to the city “recommendation gets undermined

      • I didn’t say to stop discussing the topic; I said I believe I properly addressed the concerns raised from the perspective of the Council and offered contact information for anyone else who wanted to communicate with the Council directly and not in the comments. You may, however, feel free to discuss the topic ad naseum if you so desire.

        My primary intention was to clarify the Council’s role and to try and shed light on the decision-making process that went into our vote. Second, I wanted to encourage this communication and feedback at future meetings—not after them—as it would allow us to hear directly from the community.

        I’m sorry you feel the Council is discriminatory, but I disagree and believe we vote for what is in the best interest of the neighborhood. In fact, there are many examples of this Council supporting many projects that are contrary to your claim. North End residents age 18 and older are eligible to participate in our May election and we encourage anyone who is interested to run. Perhaps you can be on the ballot and join the Council next term.

        I’m intimately aware of our role as an advisory group to the City of Boston, as I stated in paragraph 2 of my first reply. Again, rather than repeating and reiterating points in this thread, I encourage you or anyone else to contact us directly as I would be happy to continue this conversation in that manner.

        Thank you,

        John

  13. I am in full support of Going Bananas in their quest for this license. As a North End resident and patron of Going Bananas, it would be great addition for ease and convenience.

Comments are closed.