The Recorder – My Turn: Helping put small businesses out of business

Published: 10/26/2022 17:38:57

Modified: 2022-10-26 17:38:42

I surround my life with positive vibes and hate to even energize it, but I have to because it’s my livelihood and the small businesses that my boutique marketplace also supports.

Fall Season – You all know this is one of the busiest times of the year for small businesses in our quaint town of Greenfield. At this time, tourism is at its peak. Small businesses rely on tourism at this time of year to recover from the slower summer season. This is retail as we know it here in Happy Valley, the seasonal business that keeps us alive. We are survivors with staying power and we are here to bring life to the community.

Unfortunately, once again I am not happy with the way my small business is being treated. To be honest I’m offended and I have to tell you my story.

I own the Innovintage Place at 76 Hope St. in Greenfield. November will be my fifth year in business. I’ve been here and weathered all sorts of things including a pandemic, a drawn out divorce and a recession which has hit the home decor industry the hardest. Vintage is essentially a home decoration business. I did everything in my power to stay open and it was both a humbling and a vulnerable experience. I’m counting on our busy season which is now. Columbus Day Weekend is one of my busiest weeks of the year. I think you can imagine why. I don’t like the traffic either, but at the same time I’m grateful for this tourism in our community.

On Thursday October 6th I arrived on Hope Street and a barricade with roadblock signs stood on either side of the street preventing customers from entering my store. I have received no advance notice of a road closure from the City of Greenfield, Berkshire Gas. who ordered the work or private contractor JS Rae. I called the city and was told this had nothing to do with them so they would not have given me a notification. I was essentially forced to close because my customers couldn’t enter my building. On Friday 7th October the site was back with road closure signs. I spoke and spoke to the construction company and the crewman told me they would bypass my schedule and not close the road on Thursdays or Fridays. I am open from Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I lost two days of sales during my busiest time of the year and was not notified with a week’s notice, which I understand is required by law based on what I was told by my friend CEO of a local construction company.

On Thursday October 20th I arrived at Hope Street at 9am and again the road in front of my shop was barricaded with roadblock signs. Again, I received no notification so I could prepare for this financial blow to my business. In addition, the construction company had advised me not to block the road as long as I was open on Thursdays and Fridays. So I was fed misinformation.

So here I am and I had zero customers in my store last Friday. I’m often busier on weekdays than on weekends. The street in front of my shop was also closed with blocking signs and barriers until 1 p.m. on Saturday. This has hurt my business badly and on top of that it is so inconsiderate. Do i deserve this? Do we small, greenfield businesses deserve this? No notification, no courtesy, or an FYI?

My question is do you take care of me/us? Should I stay in business? Because that kind of punch at the busiest time of year that we city retailers depend on… That kind of recklessness, disregard for the small businesses you’ve barricaded is going to put small businesses like mine out of business.

Skye Wellington is the owner of Innovintage Place at 76 Hope Street in Greenfield.


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