As some of you may have heard, we've had a heck of a time getting permission from the City of Portsmouth to put up any sort of signage outside our little shop. It took 2.5 months for our request to be approved for a projecting sign (should be installed within a few weeks!). While we were waiting to have our sign approved, Whitney and I had hoped to hang a simple "Open" flag outside our door in order to draw a bit of attention our way.
Well - Whitney didn't even have the flag secured in the bracket before a city official marched over and told us, in no uncertain terms, that we were not allowed to hang a sign without express permission from the City Clerk. Being the law abiding girls that we are, we promptly wrote a letter to the City Clerk requesting permission - assuming it would quickly get approved and we'd have a little visibility while we were waiting for our full sign to be approved.
No such luck. After a 3 week waiting period, our request was shot down at the planning board meeting and a moratorium was put on all new flag requests. The city claims that granting any more flag requests (most businesses downtown already have flags outside their buildings) will result in a detraction from the "economic vibrancy" of Portsmouth. Whatever that means.
Goodness gracious; it's hard to understand how helping businesses attract business will detract from the economic vibrancy?! The good folks of Portsmouth have rallied and we've gotten some great press highlighting our plight (ha!) and bringing to light all the silly hoops that City Hall requires businesses to jump through in order to pursue the most basic of marketing tactics (like signs!!). We've had an outpouring of support from residents and business owners alike. I can't believe the number of stories that we've heard in the past few days about other businesses having similar problems.
Check out the articles below:
Flags for all, we cry! Small business success is success for the whole town! Which is why we proudly support and believe in the 3/50 project. We shop local and are so very thankful for the many G&R patrons who do, too. You guys are the best!!
Keep fighting the good fight, everyone. Together we can keep small business alive and well.