With Lavender & Lace has been around for over two years now. Two years of building up a tiny town, of giving it more interestingness, of encouraging creatives to take big leaps and two years of offering this community a place to be themselves and to celebrate it.
This past week, the City of Norfolk stepped into the shop in the form of a Fire Marshal with a printed out Facebook event of our holiday party, to do a “routine inspection”–but really to say that having a party is illegal and to suggest canceling it or be faced with consequences. This seemed like a really great way to spend city money when a simple phone call would have sufficed. Apart from alcohol and DJ regulations, we were told that clearing any place in a general public area that is over 10% of the space to be used as a “dance floor” is illegal. Then we get invoiced for $100 to pay for the fire marshal’s “services.” There is something wrong with this picture.
< last year’s party. *this* is what we’re regulating. | With Lavender & Lace Facebook>
Our events are private, honest and awesome. We love our community and supporting them and engaging with them at our events. With Lavender and Lace is a really small creative business. Our main competitors are big box retail stores in the mall and downtown. If we can’t capitalize on our nearness to our neighborhood and surrounding supporters by celebrations every once in a while, HOW do they expect us to succeed or even survive for that matter?
Our connection to Ghent, to the people who make this place awesome, is the only real reason we are even open at this point. We have never felt particularly supported by this place; the shop lives and breathes because of our cool customers and online followers.
There are many places a shop like mine could succeed and thrive, yet we stick it out here because we think Norfolk is something special. I’ve heard of two other stories like mine. Satya Yoga and Shady Grove had to cancel their events this week and pay the city too for the Fire Marshal “inspections.” This just makes us all angry. It seems that we are losing something we feel we have every right to have… celebrations with our customers. We are the people spending all we make month to month to keep the business open, the rents paid, bills on time. We deserve the right to have private events in our own establishments. We should be allowed to move to music wherever we want and not get our wrist slapped for being independent and free thinking.
Dance on Norfolk.