Oct 4, 2006

Elizabeth House gets another citation from the City of Maplewood again...

Well, this will be a short posting as I am at the end of my rope. I just wish there was a noose at the end sometimes. I opened my mail today and what do I see? I wonderful love letter from our endearing city inspector saying that he "inspeceted" my location and I was in violation of the city ordinance on portable signs and I have 30 days to correct it.

See the photo at the top? It does me no good having my sign right there on my front porch area because people walking down the sidewalk can't see it until they turn the "bend." But should they actually find my store, it is nice to let them know that I am open for business.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am hiring new employees and one new employee put the sign way out on the sidewalk (where it can be seen) instead of next to my front door. I didn't make it clear that it was to be right by the door, and she, being new, had enough sense to realize that the sign does no good at the front door and placed it where it would actually be visible. I am out most of the day on appointments and did not know this happened. The inspector writes me up again instead of just coming in and checking to see if there was a problem. I am not sure if I go to court again or not - or pay a fine - or what. According to the last time I was in court, the judge said he would revoke my business license should he see me in court ever again over this issue. No license means no doing business in Maplewood.

Maybe this is a "sign" for me to move? Is there a quaint, but high foot-traffic town out there that would welcome a small boutique? I may be shopping around.

Apparently, City Hall doesn't even know its own Mayor's email address. Prior to my post regarding this issue, I called city hall myself to get the Mayor's email address so you readers, if you felt like it, could email him your opinion. Apparently your emails have not gone through at all.

Here is another email address so please try this one if you feel like telling the Mayor how you feel:


To get the complete story, please view my posting titled "Signage." And no, I haven't heard a peep from my alderman or the mayor, or the chamber of commerce since I last left them all messages or spoke with them about this issue last August. All of whom told me on the phone: "I will look into it and make some calls and call you back." No calls yet.

I appreciate your support, concern, and outrage. I am just fed up. Period.

from my house to your house,


Curious Sofa said...

Mr Langston,
Although I do not live in St. Louis I am a frequent visitor and one of my favorite destinations is the locally owned, small business Elizabeth House. I discovered the store when it first opened (4 years ago?) and when I returned shortly after I had a hard time finding it as the city had broadened the sidewalk or changed the street in front. The owner told me that some construction had been made and now it was even harder for me to find this charming place which is an asset to Maplewoods.
I understand from her that she gets a citation every time she tries to put a portable sign near the street to let people know where she is located and that she is indeed open for business. Why is this? The sidewalk is clearly large enough for her 16" sign. Why can't someone be told about this and let Elizabeth House have an exception to the rule? It is obvious she is in a hard to find location due to the construction you changed. The hard corner in front of her business makes her virtually hidden from east (I think) bound traffic. Cut this poor girl a break- would that be such a bad thing?
Really, you should be glad to have someone who cares about her business, the traffic and appearance of her storefront like she does. You will lose her otherwise and the landmark she has made of Maplewoods. She is nationally known, you know, and brings in many visitors and locals each year. I wish she would move to Kansas City where we would love to have her!

Debbie Dusenberry

Anonymous said...

Maplewood has "sooome nerve!!!"

To the Geniuses at Maplewood City Hall: A sign can create more walk-in traffic for a store which brings in business = more taxable $$$ for Maplewood!!!

They should be doing all they can to accommodate new businesses, especially such cool and high-end ones like E. House!
Maybe they should worry about the run-down areas with people loitering, and pan-handling instead of worrying about a sign which:

Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell Elizabeth! Don't give up because of some bassackward city! If you must go somewhere else, let us all know!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you all so much for your support and the time you spent sending the mayor an email. I will keep you posted. Your warm wishes are felt all the way over here - thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Does the Major have “any” financial vision for Maplewood?
You and the beautiful boutiques on that block are the BEST thing that has happened to Maplewood!
Businesses bring in tax revenue and property prices go up in general in that area with shops, cafes and restaurants. What does he prefer, abandoned buildings or more fried chicken joints???

They should let you have all of the signage that you want and then some! They should encourage any promotional pieces.
Keep up the amazing work Elizabeth and good luck dealing with Maplewood and their
Poor small town mentality……

Anonymous said...

Oh, I feel bad for you & the sign business. I also feel bad for your new employee who didn't know any better & now probably feels just horrible about this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth - I am a huge fan who hopes to one day visit your shop. I e-mailed the mayor for you on both e-mail addresses. I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I am to have found your blog. As a new small boutique owner myself, I have been entralled with your postings. I normally don't ever write or e-mail someone like this, but I just had to since you are the best thing I have found online in a long time. I am sure there are tons more out there like myself, who read your blogs and never leave comments. You are a true inspiration and I’m sure you are touching thousands of people each day who can't visit your shop that you are unaware of. Everyday, as I sit down to check my e-mail, I have added your blog checking to my daily routine. Please keep it up. You are a true blessing! AB

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello AB,

What a wonderfully encouraging comment from you! I am very flattered and your letter is very timely. A difficult week this week, and your email is just what I needed. Thank you so much for allowing me to express myself and I hope someday to meet you and visit your shop as well.


Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, what a pain in the butt. Of all the things for a town hall to get in a huff about! Your shop looks super cute. I'd definitely be visiting your shop if I lived near your town.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Elizabeth, your store looks so beautiful and charming! You have a very inviting store! Congratulations!

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