Residents of Madison’s Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) neighborhood are pushing back against the removal of postal services from an area convenience store.
The elimination of postal services from the Stop-N-Go, located on Winnebago St, has been a matter of consternation for the east side neighborhood in recent weeks. And yesterday, those frustrations spilled over into a meeting of Madison’s Alcohol License Review Committee (ALRC).
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, David Ring, Community Relations Manager for Kwik Trip — which recently acquired Stop-N-Go — said the decision to remove postal services was in order to add additional space to the less than 3,000 square foot operation.
“I certainly know that taking out the PO boxes and removing the postal service is a huge inconvenience,” he said. “I’ve also been in discussions with Madison’s postmaster asking if they could place a mailbox outside the store, but I have not heard back.”
Ring says the previous owner was also planning on eliminating postal services, citing similar concerns over space.
As part of their purchase agreement, Kwik Trip also assumed control of the lease for a neighboring laundromat. Ring says that lease is up in April 2021 and that Stop-N-Go has plans to expand then.
But, sources in the neighborhood have informed WORT the laundromat has already closed.
Elliott Stokes is a SASY community member and had a P.O. box at the Stop-N-Go. Speaking with WORT earlier today, he said that while moving his address will be frustrating, losing the laundromat is also detrimental to the community.
The next nearest laundromat is nearly a mile stretch down Atwood Avenue at the Wash Basket.
“It’s just as important to focus on the laundromat issue, because that services a lot of people in the low-end economic spectrum who don’t have laundry in their house or building,” Stokes said.
Joel Gratz was one of the community members who spoke out against granting Stop-N-Go a new alcohol license at last night’s meeting. He argued that their lack of communication when eliminating the post office will be indicative of their behaviour going forward.
“They really failed to work with the neighbourhood early on in the process and have only tried to respond to some of these concerns at the eleventh hour when they want the privilege of selling alcohol,” Gratz said.
Despite unanimous disapproval from SASY neighbours at the meeting, Committee members seemed skeptical of their authority in the matter. Alder Paul Skidmore argued that the issue was outside the purview of the ALRC, and denying Stop-N-Go an alcohol license would be inappropriate.
“This falls into the category of mission creep and I don’t think this committee has done that yet, although I know others have,” he said.
He was joined in his concerns by fellow Common Council Member Sheri Carter, who said that the ALRC has no right to weigh in on Stop-N-Go’s internal business decisions.
“It’s difficult when you have a service for 25 years, you get used to it and you expect it to be there for 25 more,” Carter said. “But this is a business decision.”
However, last night the ALRC did use its authority to compel Hone, a restaurant on the east side, to cut its alcohol selling hours. But the owner also willingly agreed to the cut after the ALRC suggested it.
Despite the concerns from community members, the ALRC voted in a unanimous, 7-0 decision to approve Stop-N-Go’s alcohol license.
Special thanks to WORT contributor Harry Richardson and to Barbara Smith for their help in this story.
(All photos c/o Barbara Smith)