As most any business owner will attest, it’s tough out there today.
That’s why we’re glad to see Roseburg city officials take a more reasonable approach to complaints about secondhand goods stores.
The city had received a handful of complaints that some of those stores were violating city ordinances by showcasing some of their goods on the sidewalks.
Those shopkeepers were facing heavy fines, or worse, until they persuaded the city to consider the difficult economy and the measures some business owners must take to survive.
An outright ban on the sidewalk displays may have been enough to force some of those businesses to shut down at a time when there are already too many empty storefronts.
“Which would the city rather have, some stuff outside, or the business sitting empty?” one shopkeeper asked.
The city, it seems, would prefer to find a happy medium. Officials will meet with 18 or so secondhand store owners sometime this month. Until then, they’re encouraging those business owners to clean up the clutter.
We think it’s refreshing to see a more nuanced government approach and we applaud the city for recognizing that this may not be the best time to burden an already challenged business community.
At the same time we can certainly see the need to have such regulations in place. Imagine if every business owner were allowed to simply move his wares to the sidewalks. Especially where the city has liability or legal exposure should someone trip on an item, or deny public access to someone in a wheelchair.
Especially after complaints had already been filed with the city that some business owners were violating an ordinance that has been in place since 1994.
“I think that’s best, for everybody to get together and talk like adults,” said one business owner last week. “Not everybody’s going to get what they want, but everybody should get a chance to speak about it.”