SKOKIE, IL - Skokie is considering passing an ordinance that would close a loophole in the village's 17-year-old smoking ban that allows people to smoke in retail tobacco stores, TribLocal.com reports.
Jordan Hirsh, owner of The Cigar King in Skokie, opposes the change, maintaining that it would severely impact his business.
While the new ordinance would ban smoking in retail tobacco stores but exempt stores like Hirsh's that were in existence prior to the change, the move still has Hirsh smoking mad.
At a recent meeting of village trustees, Hirsh said that while the change would allow his current operations to continue unaffected, his ability to sell his business would be impaired, as future owners would not be grandfathered in to the ordinance.
"I don't want to work for the rest of my life," Hirsh said. "This is my retirement. I want to be able to sell my business at some time and retire like everyone else can. They have to grandfather in the next owner because if they don't it just makes all the work I have put in to making it such a great place worthless."
Hirsh's store has been a family business for 50 years, and it includes a smoking lounge for customers, complete with large screen televisions and a pool table.
"You can come in my store, purchase a cigar and enjoy yourself," he said.
Village trustees announced earlier this week that they will review the ordinance to ensure it does not have a punitive impact on Hirsh and other owners like him. A final vote on the ordinance is expected at the end of the month.
"I have a lot of time and a lot of money in this business," Hirsh said. "This business draws people from all over who spend money in this community. My place is for smokers. Smoking is legal. You€™re not coming into my store to buy milk."