Dear Pueblo County Health Department, Pueblo Regional Building Department, and Pueblo Fire Department:
I would like to ask for your help – to save a small business in Pueblo. This is not the only small business in Pueblo that needs saving, I actually have a list that could use some bureaucratic relief. However, if we can start with one, and set an example, I think it will fare well for the City and County of Pueblo. Because the City and County of Pueblo need tax revenue – to pay for projects that are not completely funded yet, I hope that this makes economic sense to you.
Jo Schrubbe, with Farm Fresh Market, opened her small business that provides delicious and nutritious food, often locally sourced, to the community. She just opened in June of 2012. She has already paid thousands of dollars in licensing and inspection requirements for the location where she is at. Because her current location now has a fellow tenant that uses toxic chemicals in its processing (nail salon) that seep through the ventilation system into where the food is housed and prepared, Jo is seeking to move her business, which depends on a healthy working environment, to another location.
The location where Jo is moving will cost an additional $20,000 to renovate, which the owners of the location agreed to. However, then, the Pueblo Health Department and Regional Building Department asked the owners to make additional “upgrades” to bring the building up to their codes, which would cost an additional $5,000- $10,000. Unfortunately, this ended Jo’s opportunity to lease the building – the costs were too much for the owners to bear, and Jo is left without a place that meets the draconian requirements of the Health Department. A “Health” Department that is putting a business that brings people good health, out of business.
As a consumer, I appreciate the vigilance that you have in keeping Puebloans “safe”. However, once a business owner passes the test of providing the licensing and fees once, couldn’t there be a better way to help that business if it needs to move – especially because of health reasons (Health Department)? Could you look at your licensing and codes and perhaps see if you could do something less prohibitive? What you are requiring is going to end Jo’s ability to have a location that meets her customers’ needs. Moving is expensive already – couldn’t your departments be a little more helpful in working with this small business owner who has already paid for these licenses and fees once, and who is providing an invaluable service to the City and County of Pueblo – namely that of creating a tax base? Not to mention making healthier people? Dear “Health” Department – isn’t this something you should embrace and promote?
I want to bring attention to this case – to show how important it is for government to work with businesses – specifically at the County level – where government officials can have extremely positive impacts, if they are just willing to listen and work with entrepreneurs and business owners who are working hard, trying to follow the rules, and have already paid the government for the licensing requirements, just a couple years ago.
Some response would be appreciated – so that we can help Jo and others who are facing these same problems. Pueblo needs small businesses, Pueblo needs tax revenue – don’t run Farm Fresh Market out of town.
Tisha Casida – Owner, That’s Natural!
Contact Jo Schrubbe direct at: Farm Fresh Market 2310 S. Prairie Ave Suite B Pueblo, CO. 81005 719-248-5188 firstname.lastname@example.org