Months ago the chamber was approached by a small business that needed help with an issue of critical importance. After inspection, occupancy was cut in half and the business manager was notified that a major construction project would have to be undertaken to comply with fire exits.
Reducing the occupancy was bad enough as the business was a favorite haunt of many who were disappointed when denied entry based on occupancy. The reconstruction of back door exit was going to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, staggering news to a small business owner. With the looming loss of revenue and extraordinary investment for construction there was discussion about closing the business.
The chamber arranged for a meeting with city officials with the ultimate goal of finding a reasonable solution. From Development Department, Economic Development, Building and Safety, Fire Department and Quality of Life no stone was left unturned until there was some kind of resolution.
The Herculean effort of city staff to address the problem was remarkable. From inspections to visits to round table discussions of ways in out and around there was always and end goal; to insure the downtown business stayed open and thrived.
Just this week Quality of Life Director Chris Boatman shared the good news….. the occupancy issue was addressed bringing the number back to its original total, and the required fire exit was dealt with, without investing multi thousands of dollars.
Hats off to the staff and leadership of the City of Redlands for not only identifying the value of our local small businesses but demonstrating creative, imaginative and effective solutions for issues that could have severe impact on keeping doors open in a long standing local business.
So when you hear, especially during this election campaign season, that the city does not support small businesses, is business unfriendly and is inequitable in the treatment of business owners, reflect back on this victory and remember we are all invested in the success of our local businesses big and small and stand in concert for prosperity and success for all.