Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park smoke and vape shop looking for a lesser punishment

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By Jeff Vorva

Truly Blown Smoke and Vape appealed to the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees to lighten up a 30-day suspension for selling products to underage customers.

The business was also fined and had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days during a June 1 hearing. The appeal was held on Monday, sandwiched in between the Committee of the Whole and regular board meetings.

The board heard arguments from Truly Blown’s lawyer, J. Scott Marsik, and the village’s prosecuting attorney, Donna Norton, and went into executive session to make a decision.

The board had no announcement after the executive session as its findings have to be issued in written form. Orland Park attorney Dennis Walsh said that could take up to a week.

Marsik said that the shop, located at 8104 W. 143rd St., has been closed since June 10.

If a favorable decision is not presented until June 27, that would leave 13 days off the suspension, which is vital, according to Marsik.

“A 30-day suspension during the busiest time of the year means they are losing 10 percent of the annual sales,” he said. “It’s a severe, financial impact on a small business owner in the community.”

He added that the store’s owners have “taken several steps to avoid this ever happening again.”

The lawyer said there will be more signage indicating that no one under 21 can purchase tobacco. He said owners invested $1,000 for a scanner to make sure the IDs are valid. The shop will offer more intensive training to its employees and an owner will be present every time the store is open.

Norton said that twice in a one-year span, underaged customers used by the police were sold products. She said a 17-year-old produced an ID and the employee looked at it and still sold the product. She added that an 18-year-old customer used by the police purchased products and was not asked for his identification.

“This is not a first-offense situation,” she said. “The June 1 license revocation hearing addressed the first and second offenses committed by the business. Although these were two separate instances, there were multiple violations of the village code in each case.

“The acts and omissions by the employees on these dates violate the core of Truly Blown’s business.”

Next meeting

Usually, the village board meets the first Monday of the month, but in July, the first Monday is the Fourth of July holiday, so the board will meet on Tuesday, July 5.

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