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Oak Lawn flower/wine shop adds video gambling

Tiffany Fox manager moves floral arrangement nearby cooler as video gaming terminals (right) are installed Avenue Flower Shop

Tiffany Fox, manager, moves a floral arrangement to a nearby cooler as video gaming terminals (at right) are installed at Avenue Flower Shop & Wine Bar Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at 10632 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

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As the owner of a small business in a struggling economy, Denise Roll is doing all she can to drum up sales.

That’s why, starting Friday, customers will be able to play video poker, have a glass of wine and order a bouquet of flowers in one visit to her Avenue Flower Shop & Wine Bar, 10632 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn.

Five video gambling machines were installed there Thursday by two men from Fair Share Gaming.

“It’s attractive to a different audience. My philosophy on small business now is you have to tackle all different audiences,” she said. “The flower shops in days gone by would carry flowers, knickknacks, cards and vases. The big box (stores) have that now. So you have to change your scope. You can’t single-source any more.”

Adding the wine bar two years ago increased flower sales, she said. And the flowers help boost wine sales “because we can deliver bottles of wine with the flowers,” she said.

“I’m trying real hard here. It’s tough to be successful in small business. It’s so tough,” said Roll, of Oak Lawn.

She hasn’t received any complaints about her plan to bring in video gambling to the strip mall.

“From what we’ve heard, quite a few of our customers said, ‘All right.’ My goal is to attract a whole new audience,” she said.

The video games are expected to be ready for play Friday once the system is tested, said Denis Novak, of Fair Share Gaming.

Any business that has a pour liquor license is eligible to apply for permission to have video machines, Illinois Gaming Board spokesman Gene O’Shea said.

“We’ve heard of some locations that may just be serving wine and cold cuts,” O’Shea said.

The state has approved machines at 955 locations, and machines are up and running in more than 650 statewide, he said.

Novak and coworker Ricardo Nieves had another stop to make after Roll’s flower shop.

“We install them as long as it’s legal and the paperwork is in order. We’re busy. It’s wonderful,” Novak said.

The five games installed there “are the same as you’d see at any casino,” he said.

While Novak considers “this more of a wine bar than a flower shop,” it’s been both since Roll expanded and started selling wine.

The wine bar can be rented out for private parties and has live music Friday and Saturday nights, manager Tiffany Fox said.

“It’s going to be different,” she said of the video gambling.

“Some people are still adjusting to the fact that there are flowers and wine here. All three of these, there’s nothing like it at all,” Fox said.

Wine vendor Jeanne Jesse, of Evergreen Park, stopped in Thursday and watched the machines being installed about 10 feet from a cooler filled with exotic flowers.

“It’s different. I’m not a gambler, so I’d actually come here for the flowers and wine,” Jesse said, adding she thinks video gambling will increase sales for both.

Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.

Novak joked that a husband could stop in for a few glasses of wine, play video poker, and then buy a bouquet of flowers before heading home “to say he’s sorry for losing $200.”



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