If this retail store is located in Kentucky (where Ian is located), the applicable code looks like it would be the 2012 edition of NFPA 1 – Fire Code. According to NFPA 1-2012:
220.127.116.11.1 The releasing mechanism for any latch shall be located as follows:
(1) Not less than 34 in. (865 mm) above the finished floor for other than existing installations
(2) Not more than 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor [101:18.104.22.168.10.1]
22.214.171.124.2 The releasing mechanism shall open the door leaf with not more than one releasing operation, unless otherwise specified in 126.96.36.199.3 and 188.8.131.52.4 or 184.108.40.206.6. [101:220.127.116.11.10.2]
The NFPA 1-2012 Handbook further explains the safety vs. security balance:
An increase in thefts, muggings, and similar crimes has led to the practice of providing extra security on door assemblies within the means of egress. Such a practice, particularly where door assemblies to exit stairs and exit discharges are involved, is an open invitation to tragedy in the event of fire or other emergency. The provisions of 14.5.2 are aimed at preventing locked door assemblies in means of egress or any other unnecessary interference with the orderly movement of people through door openings in the event of fire. The Code has attempted to accomplish this objective while maintaining features that are essential to security within the building.