In order to operate a corner store in Buffalo, you have to get what's known as a food store license from the city.
Applications for the license filed in City Hall have to be approved by the Common Council. It costs $115 to apply.
Some city lawmakers have said they think the city has too many of these types of stores, which sometimes can cause problems in a neighborhood, including loitering, illegally high fees for check cashing and expired products.
Earlier this year, Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen said some gravy that expired in 2009 was found on one store's shelf.
It's an issue Pridgen (pictured at right) has taken a keen interest in -- before licenses are granted in his Council district, he brings the applicants before the Council Legislation Committee. There, he typically asks questions, including about their planned hours of operation and whether they plan to sell loose items, like cigarettes or diapers. Neighbors' concerns are also considered.
University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell has not hidden her concern about such stores. She has previously touted how rarely such a new license is approved in her district.
Existing licenses are automatically renewed en masse every spring, though lawmakers can request an investigation by the Department of Permits and Inspections of individual licensees before renewal.
How many licenses for these businesses are there in the city?
As of April: 375. Here's the list. (When Adobe Reader opens, rotate the view. Sorry, the document's in landscape format.)