A Wisconsin business owner is fighting for the right to keep bars on her shop windows.
Pamela Bogen is set to open her new candy store, The Mini Sweet Shop, in the city of Racine, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee. Right now, the street level-store has bars on the windows — and that‘s where she’s run afoul of Racine Mayor John Dickert.
Dickert said having bars up sends the wrong message about the city, and he wants them removed.
“It‘s about where we’re going in Racine and if we’re going to go back to bars on window, I think we’re going in the wrong direction,” he told WITI Fox 6.
Other stores in the area have bars on their windows, but zoning rules prohibit new businesses from putting them up. The shop already had the bars before Bogen arrived, and for cost reasons the building’s owner convinced city authorities to keep them up as an exception.
And the mayor is not happy about that.
“It‘s a very inconsistent message and we’re all about consistency,” he said.
Bogen said it’s not about rules, it’s about safety.
“Just let me keep the bars up,” she said.
But Dickert said the city is turning around, and bars on the windows will suggest otherwise.
“We just put a community policing station in that area,” he said.
One resident disagreed with the mayor’s estimation of the city.
“This is crackhead city, this is drug-infested,” she said.
Bogen also wondered if the fact that she’s a black business owner had something to do with the mayor fighting her, a claim Dickert said was “absolutely ridiculous.”
The city council is due to make the final call Tuesday on whether Bogen can keep the bars.
For now, Bogen said she just wants to open her shop.
“Let me run my business and try to be successful,” she said.
Mayor… get out of the way. Be happy someone is opening a business in your town.