Local store fights teen drinking

(L-r) Patrick Caruso, CB 10; David Trinidad, TNCAP; Sam Mohamed, Albana Store owner; and John Cerini, Throggs Neck Merchant Association president.

The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership (TNCAP) is spotlightighting all Throggs Neck businesses that work to prevent underage drinking. Albana Discount Grocery has gained a reputation in Throggs Neck for being very proactive in the fight against youth drinking.

Sam, owner of Albana Discount Grocery, located at 3659 East Tremont, moved into Throggs Neck about 11 years ago. After a year of living here, he decided that Throggs Neck was a place he’d like to open his business. “I really liked the people here, and I wanted to become a part of this community,” Sam said. “It seemed like a place where the people worked together, and a place you can see results.” Nearly 10 years later, he is running a successful business in our area. He is also doing his part to fight the epidemic of underage drinking.

Sam and his staff make it a point to always ask for I.D’s, and do their best to verify that they are indeed real. It is easier to spot fake NY ID’s, however, some challenges can arise with the out of state I.D.s, like those from Florida or New Jersey. Sam and his staff work hard to overcome these challenges by taking a hard stance with any I.D that seems fraudulent, even if it doesn’t make them the most popular with youth looking for alcohol. The store has been egged by angry youth who were refused alcohol, and Sam and his staff have been insulted before. “Being here for such a long time, you get to know people in the community and become friendly with them,” says Sam. “Unfortunately the friendliness becomes something people think they can take advantage of. Some kids won’t like you for saying no, but it’s more important for me to do the right thing.”

And for Sam, doing the right thing includes those who are over the legal age as well. The store does not sell to those who are visibly drunk, and also tries to limit early morning alcohol sales. “I don’t want to be a part of that,” he says. “The extra money is not worth it, I listen to my conscience.”

Even with businesses like Albana doing their share to help, underage drinking is still a problem that requires help from all aspects of the community. There are still too many adults who are buying alcohol for youth, or allowing youth to drink in their homes. According to Throggs Neck 2008 PRIDE surveys, 60% of 8th graders thought alcohol was very easy to get. About 24 percent of 8th graders used alcohol at home and 20% used alcohol at a friend’s house. This data demonstrates a considerable problem in our community and Sam puts it best when he says, “In Throggs Neck I see a community that can make a difference, and it starts with parents. We all have to work together if we want to solve this problem.”

TNCAP is hosting a FREE TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) to alcohol selling businesses in the Throggs Neck Community on March 31. For more information call (718) 904-1333, ext. 28.

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