Pittsfield Variety Store License Suspended
Thing or Two Variety on Francis Avenue in Pittsfield will lose it's tobacco license for one week, due to multiple violations.
According to iBerkshires.com, in May of this year inspectors from the Tri-Town Health Department found flavored tobacco products on the shelves of the west side store despite regulations outlawing them over three years ago in 2014. According to Gina Armstrong, Health Director for the City of Pittsfield, a fine issued then still has not been paid.
At the beginning of August, the Health Department followed up with a second inspection to make sure the flavored tobacco products had been removed from shelves, but instead discovered three more infractions. State and city licenses were improperly displayed as required by law, signage required by the State Department of Public Health were not displayed at all, and the clerk working sold tobacco products to two customers without verifying the purchasers age. The August inspection lead to the variety store's is the second violation within a 24-month period, which calls for an additional $350 fine and a seven-day suspension. In total the business owner, Saurin Shah, owes $700 in fines for which he had called to establish a payment plan, but then missed the first payment.
While Shah admits he made a mistake in not printing and displaying proper signage and licences, but did contest the allegations of selling flavored tobacco products. He insisted the package found during inspection was one being sent back to the distributor. Shah went on to say he has terminated to the employee who sold products with out asking for I.D.
Armstrong and the Board of Health however, disagree. They sited it had been nearly a month since the citation for not displaying the licenses and signage, yet when inspectors were there this past Tuesday, they still were not displayed. In addition, Armstrong contended there had been violations at other stores owned by Shah in the past.
There is an apparent disregard for the requirements of the Board of Health to maintain a tobacco sales permitGina Armstrong, Director of Health, City of Pittsfieldvia iBerkshires.comYou have not shown good faith. There is a repeated pattern of disregard for the codeAlan Kulberg, Board of Healthvia iBerkshires.com