FoBoGro fined $30,000 for selling alcohol to underage customers

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

FoBoGro was fined thousands of dollars for selling alcohol to underage consumers last spring.

An on-campus grocery store will pay tens of thousands of dollars for selling alcohol to underage consumers last spring, according to an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Association order issued last week.

FoBoGro resolved charges with the D.C. government Wednesday that the store sold alcoholic beverages to underage customers in March and failed to display its alcoholic beverage control license in a “conspicuous” location, the order states. ABRA handed down a $30,000 fine and mandated that the grocery’s liquor license be suspended for 30 days – from Dec. 21 to Jan. 20 – and all employees who serve alcoholic beverages must complete alcohol awareness training, according to the order.

The store resolved the dispute with an offer in compromise, an agreement reached between the government and a violator in lieu of civil or criminal proceedings.

If the store agrees to the offer in compromise terms, it waives its right to a hearing and appeal. If the store does not pay the full fine amount on or before Nov. 19, its liquor license will be suspended until the fine is paid, the order stated.

Last year, FoBoGro paid nearly $8,000 in fines and spent five days operating with a suspended liquor license after undercover detectives discovered the store sold liquor to underage customers and did not take required steps to determine which customers were legally allowed to buy alcohol.

FoBoGro owner Cathy Martens said she bought the store from its three alumni owners Wednesday – the day the order was issued – and paid the fine.

“I felt it was a good business decision, and I was willing to invest in the future of the store,” Martens said.

She said the store will crack down on fake IDs and will card every customer, citing a “zero-tolerance” policy.

“Our intention is there will be no more fines, because we don’t care if it’s you or your mother or your grandmother, everyone gets carded,” she said. “If you have a fake ID or you’re gonna try and do something, FoBo is not the store to come to.”

Lia DeGroot and Mark Warburton contributed reporting.

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