Small businesses in this country are at war for their very livelihood just like veterans of warfare fighting for their very existence on the battlefield only the enemy isn’t an overseas power it is domestic greed. Twice in the past 12 months major setbacks involving separate property owners have resulted in a pricey battle for the existence of my business.
Four years ago, I opened St. Johns Cristal Cathedral, a locally owned and operated small business, in response to the need of Medical Marijuana devices in St. Johns, Oregon. Hard work and determination is rewarded with overwhelming community response and growth each year establishing a positive relationship with customers in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Then the shock of my business career: the accusation of not paying monthly utilities. You see, the building I leased, the business next to and behind me shared the same utility meters to which the property owner refused to install separate ones making for a battle each month as to who owes what. Fortunately, an amount, based on what we felt was used, was agreed upon but only worked for 10 months when the immediate business neighbor informed the property owner (by the way the owner has nothing to do with utility payment) I’m not paying my share. The neighbor is renting the space next to and behind me from this owner and for some unknown reason she sided with them giving me notice stating she has, “other plans for the space.”Dazed and confused I told there are canceled checks to prove otherwise but she stuck to her guns about the “other plans” and the search began for a new store front.
Finding a new address in St. Johns took six months as many property owners are shy about leasing space to a pipe shop; however, the one I found was in need of major repairs as there were holes in walls, a strong stench of mold and mildew, floor tiling was loose due to a leaking roof, rat evidence, painting but these are minor setbacks as to what is happening now. The storefront on North Fessenden Street in St. Johns were St. Johns Cristal Cathedral is currently doing business has been doing so without power for three months!!! No electricity, no lights, no live wall outlets, no business internet, and no simple way to say it other than I cannot run a business without power; the current heat wave was difficult as many a customer voiced, “You need some fans in here.”
The property owner’s electrician upgraded the meter bases for Portland General Electric and will also rewire inside the building but before this can happen new meters have to be installed and energized. Here lays the big problem: nothing has been done but the installation of the bases since May 2015 when I moved the business in. I talked with PGE one month ago for an update and discovered the electrician never gave the necessary information to PGE to get an inspector out so, I contacted the property owner who passed information to PGE. An inspector finally came out on 7-6-15 confirming the bases ok and told me something no one else has that the City of Portland must now inspect and the electrician has to prompt this. So, in addition to battling PGE, the property owner and his electrician, the City of Portland is in the conflict with, apparently, no end in sight. So not only the unforeseen adventures in framing, hanging wall, stopping leaks, and general clean up wrecking havoc on finances now the electricity fight has the potential of costing patronage.
Won’t you help a veteran of the small business war overcome the loss of funds that were for advertising, rent, setting up utilities, and maintaining stock levels? Every dollar invested will go back into your St. Johns Cristal Cathedral, a community-based business, to maintain appearance, keep shelves full of the locally blown hand-held and glass water pipes you’ve come to love and use, vaporizers if you are looking to quit the evils of smoking and other necessary accessories you may require. Give today for a brighter tomorrow by clicking on or copying the link below into your browser.