“I thought it was a poor choice of where to put that and so did everyone else,” said Tracy Beauregare of Countryside, whose two children attend the school at 700 W. 55th St.
“My kids asked me what a hookah is and I explained it to them,” Beauregare said of the water pipes known for smoking flavored tobaccos, as well as illegal drugs.
“I’m not begrudging the owners the right to do business, but a lot of us didn’t think it was the right place,” she said.
Beauregare said she posed a question on a Facebook page limited to school families.
“It got everyone talking, and another parent called the owner of the building and let them know about it. He was unaware,” she said.
Plans called for a parent protest at a City Council meeting April 25 about the new business, not yet open.
But Countryside officials already were dealing with the owner of Countryside Tobacco, said Steve Jasinski, city treasurer and a St. Cletus parent.
“Any water pipes are illegal in the city of Countryside, and hookahs are a water-cooled smoking device,” Jasinski said. “The owner learned if he would try to sell this, he’d be hit with a $750 ticket.”
After the sign remained up for a few days and a police officer stopped by, the owner agreed to take it down.
“He thought roughly 30 percent of his business could have come from this,” Jasinski said, referring to the sale of hookahs.
A man connected with the store declined to comment or give his name.
Beauregare said parents were grateful the matter was resolved.
“There was no need to go to the City Council meeting and no need for a petition. The sign was down,” she said. “I’m pleased. It was kind of interesting that I just kind of threw it out there and everyone got involved.”
Jasinski said he welcomed the parents’ inquiries.
“I think it’s great when people get involved in their town, where they come out and care about what’s going on,” he said. “I’m glad that other people are taking action.”
Jasinski said he hopes area residents continue to be vigilant at other stores in the city.
“If you see someone selling stuff like a glass pipe that might be used for various smoking products, call the non-emergency police number,” he said. “We don’t want people selling that garbage.”
The City Council also passed an ordinance six months ago banning synthetic marijuana and related products.
“The normal stuff is bad enough, but the synthetic marijuana resulted in a number of deaths in Chicago,” Jasinski said. “There were a couple convenience stores and gas stations selling it here, but they got nailed with hefty fines.”