Dec 14, 2006

Maplewood takes Elizabeth House to Court - again

I wanted to update you on my sign usage. To date, I have yet to receive a phone call from the mayor or my alderman. The last time I addressed this issue, EH received a citation for having my sign in the middle of the sidewalk. That was simply due to the fact that I had just hired a new employee and she accidently put it out. And please know that I don't blame my employee at all - this friggin sign issue began long before any employee came along.

Once I realized this, I put the sign right next to my entrance, next to my potted trees - where it does me no good at all unless someone actually takes time to turn the corner and see that there is another store afterall. In fact, just yesterday I had a customer come and I always asked how a customer found the store, and she said she was looking for a friend who left another store, and peeked around the corner to look for her and then she saw my "Open" sign and wondered what that was all about - she had no idea that there was another store around the corner!

So, now Maplewood is taking me to court because the city inspector saw that my sign was at my entrance of my store (see photo) and even that wasn't good enough! I have had my sign next to my front door for almost four years without any issue. It wasn't until Maplewood changed the streetscape and widened my sidewalk to 20' and took away my front door parking, did I need to move my sign way out to the center of the sidewalk (right next to a large tree) to let people know that there is a store around the little corner. Since August, when I got notice to remove my sign (from the center) I placed it right next to my trees, as shown above ever since. Now suddenly, even this location is now off limits.

I go to court on December 18th at 7PM. I have no idea what the fine will be or if my business license will be revoked, but what makes me angry is that after my new employee accidently put it out, I thought I was complying by returning it to the front door area like it had been for four years now.

It amazes me how this damn city is so quick to give the local paper a photo of my store when a story is being done on the "up and coming Maplewood" and how quick the city is to make sure my store is mentioned when there is any PR to be done about the "up and coming Maplewood" and how "proud" they are of all the little businesses (at least in front of a camera, that is), but Lord forbid they do anything at all to ensure that these little cute boutiques get the assistance they need to stay in business.

I am sorry to vent, but it just irks me to no end at all the tireless hours, money, working nights, expenses and so on it takes to run a business and the city reaps all the benefits of our hard work and is so quick to point out how great Maplewood is, but city hall has it all wrong. All these little boutiques are wonderful INSPITE of the damn city - not because of it. It is sort of like a couch potato spouse taking all the credit when his wife trains, works out, eats right, then competes, and wins a triatholon. I wish Maplewood city hall would get off its "couch" and try actually running the city for a change instead of ruining it.

So the saga goes - and so will I as soon as I can find another home for Elizabeth House.

Thank you for caring,



Anonymous said...

You go girl! I'm pulling for you. It seems that area doesn't know a great thing when they see it!


Anonymous said...


You are too good for Maplewood...while many of us emailed city hall before, none to my knowledge EVER received a response.
Our thoughts are with you, and if there is anything all the fans of Elizabeth House can do, let us know!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you for the support. Not to sound too Pollyanna, but I have had way too many "rotten" things happen to me in my past that actually led me to better who knows? Better times ahead, I am sure.

Thank you again,

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