Dangerous conditions force woman to close shop

Miami business owners have many obstacles to face in order to become successful. What happens when you finally gain a clientele and are forced to shut down your business through no fault of your own? That’s the predicament that a Pennsylvania businesswoman faces after the city posted a condemnation notice on the front door of her 22-year-old store.

The City of Wilkes-Barre notified the woman on Oct. 30 that her store had to be condemned due to an adjacent wall that is in danger of collapsing. Several other buildings on the same street face demolition. The lifelong Wilkes-Barre resident is determined to stay put. Although she was given just five days to leave the premises of her Place One at the Hollywood shop – a store that sells dresses, gowns and related items – she has contacted a lawyer and isn’t giving up without a fight.

The woman claims that the city should be liable for allowing dangerous conditions to exist. The city owns the deteriorating 40-foot wall connected to her store, and she feels that it should find alternative methods to fix it rather than make her vacate the premises and potentially shut down her business for good.

An engineering report offered three options for the woman. One was selective demolition, but that would close her store for a few months. Shoring the city’s building was also an option, but the cost would be too outrageous. The final option was total demolition. The woman was not satisfied with any of these options.

Although the city should repair dangerous conditions in a timely manner, it should be done in a way that won’t affect nearby businesses. Why wasn’t the wall fixed many years ago? It’s not fair to business owners to shut down their retail stores for weeks or even months and lose much-needed money. This business owner has chosen to seek out legal options in order to keep her companies and finances intact.

The Sunday Dispatch, “Owner of downtown dress shop told to close, neighboring buildings unsafe” Jerry Lynott, Nov. 01, 2013