Monday, December 18, 2006



Pictured above is the floor plan for our shop (you can click to enlarge it). We had to send it to a health inspector for approval. It was not approved. But why? First off, we've now been informed that we need three sinks instead of two. Secondly, and this is where my blood really begins to boil, we are now being told we need a staff washroom in the store (we don't need a customer washroom because we'll only be serving coffee to go and will have limited seating). The floor plan on the previous page shows where our current washroom is located. It’s a foot away (if that) from the only place where we could build one (the sink room). Building a new washroom is not something we can afford to do, not to mention the fact that if we did build one there I'm sure the health inspector would then make us move our double sink since I can't imagine them allowing us to wash our coffee equipment in the same room as our toilet. I’ve been told that the problem lies in the fact that we might one day sell our business separate from our home and that without a washroom it can't function as a business. First off, why not let whoever is crazy enough to buy it worry about that (as long as they're informed). Secondly forget the first thought since I can't imagine how the two could ever function separately. The store is essentially the front room of our home, which happens to be on Main Street. There is possibly one tiny loophole. I was told that if I can get the town office to back up my claims of business and home being inseparable then MAYBE we would be allowed to use our existing washroom. I went to the office and told the nice lady working there the scenario. She was very understanding and said she would bring it up at the town meeting tonight and ask that a motion be passed stating that 517 Main Street can only be sold as one unit and not as a separate business and home. An official letter will then be drafted. What planet am I on? I feel like I'm a character in a zany sitcom - one of those shows you roll your eyes at because they're so outlandish and unrealistic.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Joanne said...

That is outrageous!!
It does sound like a real bad sitcom from the early 80's - too lame to even begin to understand.

There are restaurants in downtown Toronto that don't even have washrooms for their customers - which is a necessity - and these idiots are requesting a 2nd washroom in an otherwise small house dwelling/storefront that will only be serving espresso..."What the f--- bullcrap is that all about?" Sorry Serena! Blood boiling can be catchy!

I hope that the town meeting tonight rules in favour of your request for the house to be sold as one unit...

Keep us posted on the unfolding 'surreal' drama.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

Joanne- I have similar memories of of some very sketchy places in Vancouver. Seems to me the smaller the town the stricter the health codes. My feeling is that the town is on my side wheareas the health inspectors from the "city" are clearly going to make this as difficult as possible. It's no wonder rural Saskatchewan is struggling to keep residents and remain vital.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm betting (and hoping) the town sides with You, it's certainly in their best interest. I'm always amazed at how difficult it is to start a business with a good plan and idea, yet we see really shitty businesses all over by shitty people...how did they ever do it?
Stuff like this really burns my ass too: - ) They want to encourage business, then seem to do their best to discourage anyone who tries.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

Steve- I have the feeling the town will do whatever they can but unfortunately the health inspector will have the final say. The town (those who I've met) and Sagehill Development, where I take self employment classes, have all been very encouraging. If the letter from the town office doesn't help I think I'm going to demand that the inspector come here in person so they can see how small the shop is and how close our washroom is to it!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

You're a more patient person than I

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Joanne said...

Serena, it might not be a bad idea to "invite" the inspector to the shop and make some home baked goodies and espresso/coffee/tea to entice him/her with ;D...it works in Europe!
But no envelopes under the table, okay?

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Meemee said...

Welcome to trying to open a small business in Saskatchewan. Ever notice (in the summer) the lack of little roadside stands (like you see in the Lower Mainland in BC)? There's lots to love about Saskatchewan but support for small businesses ain't one of them. I enjoy reading your blog and wish you luck!

10:27 AM  

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