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Clothing brand approved for residential retail location in St. John's

Lauren Saunders (left) and Emily Evans run the SALT clothing company in St. John’s.
Lauren Saunders and Emily Evans are the creators of The Shop, SALT Inc. clothing brand. St. John’s city council has approved a discretionary use application for them to operate a residential retail store on Merrymeeting Road. - SaltWire Network file photo

Area neighbours worry business will worsen parking woes

St. John’s city council has approved a discretionary use application for The Shop, SALT Inc. on Merrymeeting Road as a residential retail store.

The store sells the popular SALT logo sweatshirts and other apparel designed by entrepreneurs Lauren Saunders and Emily Evans.

While the residential store was approved by council at its Monday evening meeting, the store is not welcomed by everyone in the Merrymeeting Road neighbourhood.

Five written submissions were received by the city in response to the application, among them one brief letter in favour of the idea, one petition against it signed by seven area residents who wrote that the residential retail store will “worsen a horrible parking situation,” and three other letters.

Two of the letters expressed support for the business itself, but noted several concerns, mostly about parking and potential noise.

Those letters noted the entrepreneurs should be encouraged – applauding their “innovative, home-grown product line” – while still respecting the quality of life of area residents.

The Hub, a service centre for the physically disabled, wrote a letter “vehemently opposed” to the application.

Hub executive director Tom Badcock wrote that the charitable organization went through the same process with the city when an application was made for a dog grooming business in the area.

“We stated that there was no parking and customers would use our parking lot. Today, every customer who uses that facility parks their vehicle on our lot when dropping off and picking up their dogs. … Now you are proposing approving another business who has no parking!”

Badcock’s letter expressed concerns with the fact that the SALT application indicated spaces for two vehicles to park, yet also has two employees, thereby leaving “no space for customers,” he wrote.

“I have to prevent some of my staff from parking on my lot to accommodate my customers and the customers of this business will use my lot. We are a charity. I cannot afford to pay staff to police my parking lot and if there are no spaces for my customers I will lose business.”

SALT’s application indicated it will operate Tuesdays from 5-6:30 p.m., Thursdays from 5-6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 5-7 p.m.

At Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Maggie Burton moved to approve SALT’s application, adding she hopes the business owners will be mindful of their neighbours.

Coun. Hope Jamieson seconded the motion, calling the business a “great initiative,” and said two parking spots should be sufficient.

The application was unanimously approved.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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