Passages Wine and Books

Passages Wine and Books is pursuing an incidental liquor license and is requesting a letter of support from the East Village Association to lift the current moratorium for Consumption on Premises liquor licenses.

Our Company: Passages Wine and Books is an LLC formed in March 2023, under sole ownership of Amanda Sadowski. The main concept of Passages Wine and Books is bringing people a space that allows for exploration of their hobby or passion. Passages is a bookstore that includes a cafe component for wine, non alcoholic drinks, pour over coffee, and a collection of tea. Passages believes that reading, learning about wine, or having a cup of tea can broaden one’s mind, expand knowledge, or provide a moment of relaxation. These activities can be done independently, but also can have a shared component.

We will welcome those who choose Passages as a place to independently study, work, or take a moment for themselves to enjoy a cafe item. We also hope to be a host for literary or tasting events, and a gathering space for clubs or community groups. Passages is looking forward to collaborating with other small businesses and community organizations to execute their mission and values.

Mission and Values: Our mission is to be a welcoming gathering space for readers, cafe consumers, neighbors, and patrons. We aim to provide a unique and enjoyable experience to Chicagoans that provides some reprieve, while also fostering relationships and community.

Our vision goes beyond providing refreshments in an elevated, cozy setting and offering a book selection to customers. Passages Wine and Books envisions growing connections through hosting experiences, using sustainable and ethical approaches, collaborating with vendors who have like minded values, and developing community partnerships to bolster our city and neighborhood.

Owner's Bio: Passages is a small business, owned by Amanda Sadowski. Here is a little information about myself, in my own words:

I grew up in Massachusetts and have lived in Chicago for 16 years. I started my career in social service, working in child welfare and medical case management. I am currently a manager of a case management team in the healthcare setting. During this time, I also gained 14 years of serving and hospitality management experience in the food and beverage sector. Personally, I am a volunteer and mentor trying to make impactful contributions within the community through community service, mentoring, and service on a non profit board of directors. In my free time, I enjoy watching football, spending time with my husband and close friends, exploring Chicago, and reading. After 15 years in social work, I am pursuing a business that brings me joy. What makes Passages unique is the founding experience in service, aptitude in management and working with others. I believe strongly in connection, community, and understand the benefits that pursuing and sharing a passion and hobby can have.

Planning and Application: Passages Wine and Books will be a book retail store with a cafe component. It is a start up that the owner is pursuing for the first time. Passages will sell new and used books. The cafe will serve snacks such as charcuterie, popcorn, and desserts, glasses of wine, and non alcoholic drinks (pour over coffee, cold brew, sparkling lemonade, and loose leaf tea). The cafe component is expected to be in the rear of the space, with a 6 person counter bar. There will be various furnishings throughout the space that includes sofa chair and loveseat seating, tables and chairs, and bookshelves. Passages plans to host community groups and books clubs in the space. Planned facilitation of enriching events with literary, wine, and educational topics will further support the mission of passages being a community gathering space.

Location and Zoning: The location of the business is 1911 W Chicago Ave in West Town. Zoning is special use, in a B3-2 zoning district. West Town was a desirable location due to a number of factors. Synergy with neighboring small businesses was important to allow for collaboration, to support others, and be supported. Becoming a member of an active chamber of commerce, such as the West Town Chamber of Commerce also provided an incentive in location. Passages is currently a member of the chamber. Passages also considered ethical obligations and types of businesses in the area of 1900 W Chicago Ave. The location did not have a bookstore nor wine cafe in the close vicinity. It was an important ethical consideration to be in a location that did not have direct competition, so that we are adding to the diversity of services and businesses available to consumers.

Licensing: Based on the business plan and consultation with the City of Chicago, Passages Wine and Books will be seeking the licenses listed below. This may be subject to change as we navigate the process with the city.

  • Limited Business License
  • Retail Food License
  • Incidental Liquor License

Timeline: Passages has secured commercial space via a 5 year lease at 1911 W Chicago Ave with SVN, a commercial real estate firm. Passages is working with architect Emily Ray at Wheeler Kearns Architects for research, rendering drawings and plans, and identifying steps for permitting and build out of the space. The timeline depends on factors that may be outside this writer’s control. Please see below for an estimate of a timeline:

Request and Benefits: Passages Wine and Books is requesting support for an incidental liquor license and lift of the current moratorium for on premise liquor licenses. Our goal is to establish relationships, partnerships, and support from the neighborhood, which includes the Alderman’s office, East Village Association and neighboring businesses. Passages has already received written support from The West Town Chamber of Commerce. The business plan includes generating revenue from two main sources: book and cafe sales. Wine sales is a component, as the combination of books and wine is the originating vision of this unique venture, but the liquor license will be incidental.

We are pursuing incidental following a consultation with business affairs and the liquor commission as retail book sales is the main source of revenue. The cafe menu offers diverse options outside of wine including non alcoholic beverages, a collection of tea, pour over coffee, and snacks. The concept does not include any sale of hard liquor or beer, nor is a restaurant, nor place for “to go” sales so it does not compete with nearby businesses with those offerings. We will not be serving bottles, and wine is only sold by the glass. Our business hours will be respectful of our neighbors and are in fact written in our lease. We will not be open past 10pm on weekends nor 9pm on weekdays.

We are actively working to develop partnerships and relationships in the community as we pursue opening Passages. We have invested into a commercial lease that will replace an empty storefront, positively impacting West Town’s vitality and resulting in further investment. Continued efforts to start up the business has already had an impact by establishing business with other small businesses, vendors, and contractors in the community. Passages’ mission is to continue this collaboration, with a future goal of hiring. These activities promote economic growth and job development. We believe the impact goes even further, to our individual neighbors. Passages offers a nearby bookstore, a gathering space. This space can provide a moment of self care, a venue for connecting with others, a convenient location for a gift or personal purchase, and overall a welcoming and safe space for all. We believe strongly that our business will add to the thriving community and welcome the opportunity to serve the community under our business model.

Proposed Hours of Operation: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am-9pm

Projected revenue:
  • Book Sales: 40%
  • Wine Glass Sales 35%
  • Retail Food/Cafe (non alc.) 25%
Zoning, and Licensing: Passages Wine and Books, LLC is owned and operated by a sole individual:
  • Owner and Manager: Amanda Sadowski
  • 3015 N Gresham Ave/li>
  • Chicago, IL 60618

Physical Address of Passages: 1911 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Passages has established a 5 year commercial lease with the owner of the property, SVN Commercial. The address of the property is 1911 W Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60622. Passages is pursuing the following licenses: Limited Business, Retail Food, and Incidental Liquor. Since Passages is renting the space and does not own the property, there will be no changes to the building and structure.

Zoning is currently B3-2, Community Shopping District and Special Use. Passages is in the process of filing a Zoning Opinion Letter to the city to determine if current zoning is adequate for intended business use. Passages will comply with all code requirements. The planned build out includes only interior renovations and updates to ensure ADA and city compliance.

Construction work will include replacing the floor with luxury vinyl flooring, installing book shelving along the east wall, constructing a small cafe bar in the rear of the space, and plumbing work to ensure code and retail food licensing requirements are met. Passages will apply for an SSA program rebate for facade and security. Plans include a vinyl storefront sign on glass front windows and installation of security systems to improve the look and security for the storefront and surrounding area. For the purposes of building out the interior of the space and pursuing licensing, the following firms have been hired to assist the project.

  • Architect: Wheeler and Kearns Lead: Emily Ray
  • 343 S Dearborn St Ste 200 Chicago, IL 60604
  • General Contractor: Third Coast Lead: David Koch
  • 214 N Prospect Manor Drive Mount Prospect, IL, 60056
  • Code Consulting and Expediter: Burnham Nationwide Lead: Louie Greenebaum
  • 111 W Washington St Suite 1700
  • Chicago, IL 60602

Renovation Plan and Zoning Map

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