If you are considering opening a business think twice about it, or maybe even 10 times. In today's world of regulations and the unwillingness to look beyond them, it is almost impossible for a small business to get off the ground. There is no common sense being used anymore and if a small business is going to make it they need some common sense and cooperation of the cities in which they are doing business.
I help run the Star Theatre and Fun Center Grill and I went to Huntington City to try and put in an overnight campsite for people passing through town so they can get a bite to eat at the grill, watch a movie and take a nap so they can move on safely. I was told by Huntington City Planning and Zoning that I didn't meet any of the criteria because we didn't have enough acreage. I was told I would need at least one acre of land. We have one and a quarter acres of land in the middle of town that include the theatre and grill with an empty lot between the two and behind them.
At City Hall we were told that we didn't have the necessary paperwork in place and we didn't have the necessary bathrooms. We have nine bathroom stalls in the theatre and grill available for the public. They said they were separate businesses and we couldn't use them. If we can't use the rest rooms for our grill and theatre, then of course the idea won't work, so we left the meeting, defeated again.
All of our surrounding neighbors have signed a letter stating they are in support of us turning our back lot into a parking area for someone to park overnight.
We are trying to find a way to diversify our business so that it can stay afloat. Our decision to open the theatre was based on us wanting to offer something to the kids in the county and to make a difference in the community. It takes a lot of money to keep things afloat but every time we try to find a way to keep the theatre and grill running we hit roadblocks from the city because of regulations and an unwillingness to help.
Rather than always being told no, wouldn't it be nice for a city to say we want to help you with your business and here are the things you need to do to make your idea work and here's the things we can do to help you succeed.
But we don't hear that.
It seems to me that regulations should exist to help a community, not used to beat the community over the head. Small business owners really stick their necks out when trying to start a business and it would be nice if the city you reside in would offer a little more help and a little less resistance.