These Entrepreneurs Fought the Law. . . And Won. From zoning ordinances to quirky local statutes, legal issues can slow down a launch or expansion. Some entrepreneurs take matters into their own hands.
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When Paul Hletko's grandfather died in 2008, the Evanston, Ill., patent attorney wanted to do something to honor his legacy.
His grandfather, a Jew from Czechoslovakia, had operated a brewery there until it was taken away during World War II; Hletko, who had been a home brewer for two decades, decided to open a craft distillery in his memory.
"After doing a lot of research, I decided that the right place to do it was right where I live," he says. The problem was, Evanston was a notoriously dry town. In the late 1800s, the Chicago suburb was the home of Frances Elizabeth Willard, head of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Alcohol wasn't served in the town's restaurants until the 1970s, and the first liquor store didn't appear until the 1980s. But Hletko wanted to be close enough to home to walk his three kids to school, so he wasn't going to let a little thing like a century-long bias against alcohol get in the way of launching FEW Spirits (named for Willard).