Fresh & Easy applies for permit to sell alcohol

Students residing in University Gateway received notice Wednesday that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market applied in September for a permit to sell wine and beer.

Fresh & Easy, located on the ground floor of University Gateway on Jefferson Boulevard, alerted residents that the request for the permit would be presented at a public hearing on Dec. 19 for those interested in speaking either for or against the permit’s approval.

With the permit, the store could sell wine and beer for outside consumption in their original containers, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. However, minors would still be allowed on the premises. Fresh & Easy requested to be able to sell beer and wine between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. for off-site consumption seven days a week.

In order to be issued a permit, applications must be submitted to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. According to the department, the number of beer and wine licenses that might be issued in a city or county in combination with off-sale general licenses is limited to one license for every 1,250 people.

As of Aug. 9, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced that, based on statutory authorizations and limitations, Los Angeles county would be eligible for 25 additional off-sale licenses. Most underclassmen seemed to be neither in favor of nor against Fresh & Easy’s application for the permit.

To Nikolas Gutierrez-Kovner, a freshman majoring in film and television production, he said the change would have no affect on him as a minor.

“I’m indifferent as to whether or not Fresh & Easy gets a liquor license,” Gutierrez said. “I’m an undergraduate, so I can’t buy liquor anyway.”

Undeclared freshman Kate Hinkens expressed similar views, citing the easy accessibility to alcohol regardless of whether Fresh & Easy attains the alcohol license or not.

“I don’t think it really matters if Fresh & Easy gets a liquor license or not because there’s so many other places where alcohol is available for people to buy,” Hinkins said. “So it doesn’t affect me either way.”

Most upperclassmen, however, applauded the idea of Fresh & Easy selling alcohol. To Gateway resident Bess Benhamou, a senior majoring in business administration, the permit would make purchasing alcohol more convenient.

“It’s a great idea that they’re going to have it; it’s super convenient,” Benhamou said. “I mean they’ll still card, so I don’t see any downside to it.”

Gateway resident Sara Lanier, a junior majoring in neuroscience, also approved of Fresh & Easy getting the permit. She believes, however, that Fresh & Easy would have to make its prices competitive.

“Fresh & Easy getting a liquor license is an awesome idea,” Lanier said. “They are kind of overpriced in general because of the convenience factor. If they can’t compete with CVS’s liquor prices since you can just go down to CVS to get alcohol, then I don’t know how much more they’re going to sell.”

The hearing is scheduled to be held Dec. 19 at 11:30 a.m. at Los Angeles City Hall.