Recently, a friend (lovingly) got in my face about not having blogged in quite a while. I was two things, ashamed at my lack of attention in this area and tickled pink that I have been missed. I promised to address and correct my behavior, so, let’s address this…
On December 14th I officially opened my specialty dress shoppe, Dressed Up. Many of you know I have been working on this venture since January 2019 and, throughout the process I have learned so very many things… about real estate, financial fitness, government and myself. I have cursed and carried on and I have remained resolute in my determination and refused to take anyone’s “no” as an answer. I have challenged the systems that have (seemingly) been put in place to discourage minorities (I HATE that word!) from advancing past where “they” think we belong. I have stood in people’s faces and forced them to see and speak to me instead of hiding behind emails and telephones. I laid claim to my intention and did not move. I made/make sacrifices that make my social media feed look so very much less exciting than yours. My social life occurs within four walls and my besties are five bald-headed mannequins.
But, I am now the very proud owner of a dress shoppe
This post is about this morning with a subtext of the past few (read, 90+) mornings as well. Some of you may know the ins-and-outs of opening a business either through personal achievement and experience or education. Here’s what I had to learn quickly: my shoppe is new construction. At pre-determined phases throughout the construction process, city/state inspections are necessary – fire, electrical, sprinkler system, building, etc etc. Upon completion, there is a final building inspection and if approved you then move on to obtaining your Certificate of Occupancy or Approval. I will not bore you all with sordid details, but suffice it to say, a process that should have taken three to five business days from final inspection stretched on for weeks. After showing up in City Hall myself I was given my CofO. Once given that I was only then able to schedule a Fire Inspection to get my fire permit. Did that. Got that. Got my waste permit. And my zoning approval. Payroll filing as well. Check. I submitted all my bits and pieces onto the NJ Portal, paid my $250 fee for my business license and was told “it could take a few days, one week or one month.” You may have surmised by now this is not a version that will end with either of the first two options, right?
In early December I hung all the permits I had and also posted the receipt for the business license application. I opened the doors on December 14th. Then, I waited. Every few days I would check the portal and/or call… nothing. Today, more than a month later I head to City Hall. I enquired. A very nice gentleman printed my license and took it to the woman in charge of signing it (oh yes… ALL it needed was her signature!). He brought it to me and I was absolutely elated! Finally! Yay me for showing up and handling my business! Yes, I was feeling all kindsa proud of myself and empowered until he said, “Young lady, keep an eye on your calendar, okay, as your license expires in March.” What?!?!? Yes folks, the City of Newark thinks it is okay to, no matter when you are issued your license, make all expirations at the same time. So, I have just paid $250 for a license that is valid from today, January 16th, 2020 to March 31st, 2020! What the absolute fuck?!?!?
So yes, I am back writing alright, because my next piece will be addressed to Mayor Ras Baraka! You see, he speaks often about wanting small businesses and black-owned businesses in downtown Newark, yet THIS is what he rolls out as our welcome mat! Nope. Most certainly not good enough! Will update you all after my next trip to City Hall.
I’ve missed you…