Youth Prevention

Published on March 18th, 2019 | by Burlington Partnership

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Supporting a Healthy Community: Bessery’s is Tobacco Free!

By Zoe Paxton, 8th Grade BE Above Member

Bessery’s is leading the way when it comes to protecting kids from tobacco and alcohol.

Three years ago, Bessery’s underwent a renovation, and they stopped selling tobacco. Bessery’s is less than a block away from Hunt Middle School, and Bessery’s employee Cole Treat remembers going there when he was in middle school. Middle school students are still coming to the store after school everyday, and Treat says he feels a responsibility to keep adult products out of minors’ hands. “We stopped selling cigarettes because we really wanted to be a family oriented business. The focus is really family and food here at Bessery’s.” Bessery’s store front is quite different from other stores who choose to sell tobacco. As you walk in, there are no signs advertising cheap tobacco products or flavored e-cigarettes.

Bessery’s also takes steps to ensure alcohol doesn’t get into the hands of minors. Cole says that all employees at Bessery’s make a point to ID everyone who buys alcohol. “I know that Burlington kids know the places where they can go to buy underage. I’ve never had any issue with minors trying to buy alcohol here because we’ve built a reputation. They know they won’t get away with it here.” Bessery’s also participates in Project Sticker Shock, an annual Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community (BPHC) event aimed at reducing the negative consequences of underage drinking. Community members join BPHC staff to place bright stickers on alcoholic beverages and on alcohol cooler windows at participating alcohol retailers in Burlington. The stickers and window clings read: “Hey there, please keep this out of the hands of minors. Providing alcohol to people under 21 may result in fines up to $2,000 and 2 years in jail.”  Bessery’s has participated every year of BPHC’s Sticker Shock project, since 2010.

Bessery’s is a prime example of a healthy store, committing themselves to keeping tobacco and alcohol out of the hands of minors!


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