2b, or not 2b? That is the question… that seems to be tearing the City of Wheat Ridge apart.
There has been ample time to have a ballot initiative in the early planning process of the 38th ave. Corridor. The plan for 38th Ave. has been in motion for a number of years without the input of the citizens like we see today. Planning “vibrancy” for any City is welcoming, but should not be confused with the core of what truly makes a city vibrant, and that being, the People! I too wanted to be a part of this growth but in the midst of pre-planning, I was excluded and vacated from my 38th Ave. store-front business “Shampooch” that I also called my home and was my livelihood .
For those of you that are not familiar with my story, my name is Helen Turner and for almost 7 years I loyally and lovingly operated Shampooch. I began my business during the market meltdown recession in 2007. I remember looking out my store front window and I would watch the dust storms and tumble weeds blazing down 38th Ave. I can still see in my mind’s eye the buildings that surrounded me, that had particle board nailed over the windows, representing hard times. To start my business it took every penny I had and additional monies in loans. I was raising my 3 sons on my own without entitlements and I left my 2 paying jobs to take a risk in making our lives better. I desired to be a contributing asset to the community and a good role model to my children. I had a heart for the animals that were, back then, being left inside homes to fend for them-selves due to the market meltdown that had people abandoning their homes and their pets. I operated my business in consideration of the economic frailty. I aggressively marketed myself to keep my dream alive, which for me meant I was walking flyers door to door, hosting community events and calling Tom Martino with my offers of “screaming deals”. Relying on my own determination and hard work, my little business grew. Importantly, I was happy to go to work.
Recorded with Jefferson County on September 19, 2013 Councilman Joe Demott bought the property that Shampooch operated on. This knowledge along with my (mis-leading) "welcome new tenant" letter, gave me hope and inspiration for the up-coming 2014 year, for the betterment of Shampooch!!! Contrarily, on January 10, 2014 I received a demand notice to vacate. I had to vacate within a months’ time. “Joey” told me he needed me out of the building, to “get his workers in, to gut out the place.” As stated in the Denver Post, Joe Demott had chosen a restaurant / bar business for his first pick, to move in where I was being forced to move out of. Apparently, the business did not end up even moving in there and to this day the building sits vacant.
I found the May 5, 2014 WR sessions meeting interesting. WR Economic Developer without the presence of Joe Demott advocates for him and requests tax incentive monies for the building where Shampooch stood. In this 18 page memorandum the EC calls the building "blighted" and in need of repair and one tenant was relocated. This sounds like Urban Renewal Authority to me and I still have questions unanswered of my rights there in.
Joe Demotts Lawyers told me a few months back, contractually, the lease was in Joe Demott’s favor and I was lucky to have 30 days to vacate. I feel he is hiding his immoral behavior behind a piece of paper. In my opinion, this makes how Joe Demott vacated me even more unimpressive. Just because a person can doesn't mean they should take advantage of the disadvantaged, I was a business owner that trusted this person of Authority, therefore; my expectation was high. All the while, when I was being blinded of the truth, the other tenants were given opportunity to make a choice of renewing their leases, but for the vacate of my business he told me he was "going by the book."
I received a note from Joe Demott saying I could reach to him for help, to get “Shampooch back on its paws” but that was reneged when I asked. - Damn it!!! His rhetoric is for supporting "each" one of us. He took an oath as a leader of this community to keep the people safe. It is implied that “Home grown Leadership” is the same as good O’l fashion values; right? To make a person tear down their life and take away their livelihood is not an action of a person that is concerned for a citizen’s humanitarian welfare. In my opinion, in the manner I was booted out it was an unethical action of exploitation covered-up by his words that led me to be deceived. He endorsed the adoption of the Urban Renewal plan in Oct. 10, 2011 with his and the city’s vision to rebuild where Shampooch once stood along with his spring of 2014 investment, (immediately west of Shampooch). He has known for a very long time that he wanted me out of that space and could have shown compassion and professionalism, for mutual benefit, proving that he truly does care for "EACH" one of us in a City and the State of which he is campaigning to be a representative of.
Working for the City and endorsing the 38th ave corridor plan would make Joe Demott a person that directly would be able to influence and change the downed real-estate market by increasing its value in the future with the pre-planned “Main Street.” Over the course of his tenure with the City, he had opportunity to have inside knowledge and use that information for his personal gain. He bought the real-estate at a time when the focus of attention on 38th was still subdued, all the while knowing the $$$ signs would come in the future, for the up-coming redeveloped 38th ave. and the elections.
I am writing this to let any interested person know that neither everything nor everyone is as it may appear. In a governmental criterion where small woman based business is thought to be encouraged, I was beguiled by a vision and the redevelopment. I was wrong to trust a person of influence and his hypocritical talk for diverse business commerce for EVERYONE. He truly did not care about the challenges I had to face even though he is knowledgeable as a “successful business owner”.
I suggest that people truly research where their hard working tax dollars may be going. If TIF is being allocated in these “blighted” areas it will pull from other resources, hence Ballot issue 2a. If Joe Demott receives Business Redevelopment Incentive monies it will reduce the resources for other deserving business owners. I am a family oriented person; I want my tax dollars to strengthen the civil employees that protect us in the police and fire departments and money to go to our children’s future and their education. I have no desire to help fill the pockets of any self-imposing politician and their investors.
Like me, how many more well-meaning business owners should become displaced? The consequence of Goliath pushing David into a pool of suffering becomes the burden on the small guy. And? How many people will lose their homes to make room for the will of the visionaries when forced out in the name of “Re-development” coming soon? There are 5 blighted areas in WR that will require more of our tax dollars. The focus now is on "Main Street"
Thank-you for my voice America!Helen@Shampooch
Today is July 14, 2014. I am pondering today why the location of where Shampooch once stood remains vacant?
This is an excerpt from the May- June 2014 neighborhood Gazete written by Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay:
Picking and choosing: We have little ability to discriminate against any business or person wanting to locate here if their applications follow building , regulations, code, proper zoning, setbacks, streetscape, etc. We can make it tough, but legally we have to play fair with all who come, be it love it -or not so much. Playing fair even included the thankfully failed hookah bar.
Clancy’s Irish Pub is a popular place in Wheat Ridge and is said to be the oldest Irish pub in the Denver metro area.
Clancy's Irish Pub is a popular place in Wheat Ridge and is said to be the oldest Irish pub in the Denver metro area. (Austin Briggs, YourHub)
"¢Wheat Ridge pledges $3 million toward retail resuscitation
"¢Wheat Ridge owner scrambling to relocate business after being forced out
"¢Sprouts to anchor proposed retail site in Wheat Ridge
WHEAT RIDGE "” Weeks before a blighted parking lot and shopping center on the southwest corner of Kipling Street and West 38th Avenue is slated to be scraped off for a $12 million redevelopment project, the future of a popular bar is still in limbo.
The owners of Clancy's Irish Pub at 10117 W. 37th Place say they signed a five-year lease last April with the building's current owner and have yet to be told about the future of the property that has housed for 40 years what they say is the oldest Irish pub in the metro area.
"The bottom line is, we realize no one wants us here "” the building's owner, the developer and the city," said co-owner Chad Martin. "At the same time, we haven't gotten any offer to buy out our lease or have any real options on where to relocate or the money to do it."
Wheat Ridge is wrapping up the largest tax increment financing deal in the city's history with MVG Development, which plans to build a Sprouts Farmers Market, 64-unit senior housing complex and retail stores, replacing a blighted shopping area that still houses properties built in the 1960s.
As part of the deal, the city would provide approximately $3 million to MVG Development to offset development costs. Through the first week of April, MVG had secured options to purchase three of the four properties in the retail center.
According to city officials, MVG hopes to close on all properties by the middle of April "” including the fourth and final one, which is the building housing Clancy's.
Martin said the first time he heard about the possible sale of the building was when he and co-owner Jeff Hurlburt were called to a meeting with city officials and MVG representatives last October.
"They basically shook our hands, told us we did a great job running a successful business but that the building was being sold and we had to find a new location," Martin said. "We've been left in the dark."
They say the building's owner and property manager refuse to talk to them, and at one point threatened them with a drawn-out court battle challenging the validity of the lease.
"We talked to a lawyer, who took one look at the lease and said it was a legal and binding document," Martin said.
The building's owner, property manager and representatives from MVG Development all declined to return multiple phone calls seeking comment on the project.
The owners say the uncertainty is all the more frustrating because despite being tucked away on the corner of a dilapidated parking lot out of view of Kipling Street, Clancy's had record sales in 2013. This year is going even stronger.
Attorney Shaun Pearman, who's representing Clancy's, said the current owner can sell the building and development can occur once a fair deal is worked out with Clancy's, either buying out the lease or providing a new address.
"I'm not going to say anything negative about them, because I haven't heard anything to tell me that (the property owner and developer) aren't going to be upright and honorable," Pearman said.
For many longtime Wheat Ridge residents, Clancy's has achieved landmark status.
"It's been here forever "” it's a classic," said 56-year-old Bob Jenkins, who grew up down the street from Clancy's. "It's a shame they can't come up with a plan to keep this place here."
I have had some dialog with the City's Mayor. I was triggered by a statement made by a council member who talked about how the City has loans and grants to help Wheat Ridge businesses to succeed...
Dear, Mayor, councilman and citizen... On my 7th year of my 38th Ave business, "Shampooch" I was forced to deconstruct my life when a councilman / investor bought the property in September 2013. Any business minded person would know that a month's notice to vacate is an unrealistic amount of time to properly relocate a business. I reached out to the City to "help me succeed". I did indeed need help to relocate with loans, grants or anything. There was no help for me and in a blink of an eye I was pushed into financial ruin. I ask why that this unethical treatment of a citizen and business goes unnoticed? And why, if WR is concerned about the economic, social, political and cultural balance of commerce would it divert it's community based animal loving citizens out of City limits? I was the only business of it's kind in WR. ? Helen
The Mayors response:
Helen, many of the present elected officials and city staff were very sorry to learn you could not find another location for Shampooch. I know that xxxxx xxx with Economic Development tried extensively to help, but apparently the right combination of location/cost became unsurmountable for you. This happened to me many years ago with my own business and a new building owner. I hope you will continue to be optimistic regarding a new location. Your business obviously was a needed service.
My response to the Mayor:
What prompted a comment from me is when the council man wrote about Wheat Ridge "having loans and grants to help businesses succeed" in response to the citizens comment "¦"¦ But how is this help true when I asked for help, but to no avail?
You are correct when you agree that a months' notice to vacate was insurmountable for Shampooch. I hired a commercial realtor to locate suitable property. I was aware that the City of Wheat Ridge does allocate some funding to help businesses such as mine. (xxxxxxx received 57,000.00, right?) These actions were performed as a matter of self-preservation. I was literally scrambling to save my business and my own finances.
How did the economic developer extensively help Shampooch? - Unfortunately-and perhaps even ironically my; conversation with xxxxx xxxx was short as he explained there was no help he could offer me, besides a circle of names to call and the suggestions of a few properties to view. As I was racing the hands of time to save my business I was met with a tone of indifference and ignored by officials that "talk the talk".
Madam Mayor If you had the same thing happen to you and you experienced the same trauma as I did with Shampooch, could you not have shown compassion and lent a hand? What makes this situation stand out from a normal tenant landlord situation is that a City Representative who's "˜community and business for "each" one of us' rhetoric delusion, knowingly caused pain and suffering to a business owner. Shampooch was my livelihood and that was taken away from me in a two sentence insensitive "vacate" letter.
The 38th Ave. Corridor plan is a highly prioritized project for the city of WR. Council and Stakeholders adopted the plan October 10, 2011 and this area has been an Urban Renewal Plan for many prior years that is governed under CRS urban renewal laws. My point being is that there was timely opportunity to have prepared Shampooch in a professional and respectful manner for the City's desire to have a pub in the place of where Shampooch was. Instead I was forced to deconstruct my life and I was taken advantage of because of conditional circumstances. How can you or anyone deem this appropriate? It is unethical! The councilman had authority of this situation. Because a person can - doesn't make it right. What I believe to have been more sensitive and compassionate is to have had opportunity to have had candid conversation from the beginning and the new owner could have devised a short term lease agreement. The other tenants seemed to have known more than I and it makes it seem that I was economically discriminated against in a shoddy business transaction. I feel that the City has culpability and the City should be held accountable for debilitating a small business. No one can convince me that forcing a small business out of the balance of commerce is a wise plan; it most definitely was not kind. Putting hardship on a female citizen who has worked hard to raise her one parent family is just wrong!
What I am humbled by, is the heart of the people. They came to my aide during a tumultuous time. Hard-core citizens graciously extended themselves to try to keep Shampooch alive with morale and physical and financial support. Thank-you, to all that shivered on that cold February 15th D-day, by helping me vacate the premises. Thank you to all the compassionate patrons for "walking the walk". I am touched by the sincerity of the people that make a community healthy thriving and vibrant.
I am very great-full for all the support. I am catching up on bills and this was made possible because of all the caring people that understood that a loss of my business meant financial ruin for me. I also have gratitude for the emotional support I have received. The good people of this world have kept me sane, without moral support... well lets just say... ???...Thank-you friends. At this time it is not feasible for me to start up a new location. I am working diverse side jobs and grounding myself for the time being. My prayers are for everyone's happiness. Love Helen@Shampooch
Many of my animal loving community friends have done so much in so many ways; I want to thank...
Dianna & Saba
Jessica & Riley
Doreen & Butcus
Steve Duke, & Taz
Pat at Paws Pet Grooming
Lorelei, Bentley and Beau
Jan, Steve and Autumn
The DKC Crew
Noelle & Daisy
Bonnie @ Bonnies Balm
Kathleen, Larry, Gracie & Spike
Corrie @ Corrie's grooming
Zia @ Muddy Paws
Austin Briggs @ The Denver Post
Dianne & Molly
My beloved sons and Psy who always makes me smile!
I thought I was going to write on sunday 02/16/14 which was the day after the move. I woke up sick with muscle spasms and cramping. I believe this was my body reacting to the trauma. It has taken until today to feel better. 02/20/14 Love Helen@Shampooch
February 15 · Edited
I think for me to get through Shampooch's move out, (on this thank-fully warm and beautiful Saturday), I will have to disassociate my thoughts I have of grieving. Shampooch for me is symbolic of what America was founded on and that being having the liberty for everyone to follow their dreams.
Before Shampooch I worked two jobs and I was raising my 3 boys as a single parent. I got that loan that kicked started my business and persevered through the times of tribulation in a bad economy. I kept my dream alive and I remained loyal to Shampooch. Success for me was working a job that I love, building relationships in my community, paying my bills and inspiring my 3 sons to be self sufficient. I will try not to let governmental dominance and hypocrisy get my goat today. Thank-you to all the beautiful people that work hard and follow their dreams because that's what makes America strong! - Love Helen@Shampooch
Wheat Ridge owner scrambling to relocate business after being forced out
By Austin Briggs
POSTED: 02/18/2014 01:43:13 PM MST | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO
A popular Wheat Ridge businesses owner who made her living grooming and bathing pets said she's facing financial ruin and scrambling to find a new location after the building's new owner wouldn't renew her lease.
The situation has created a rift between Helen Turner, 56, who says she was assured she could stay in the property, and former Wheat Ridge city councilman and Pietra's Pizza owner Joe DeMott, who said he purchased the property in September 2013 fully intending to convert it into a restaurant and bar.
"I'm combining four spaces to create a restaurant," DeMott said. "That was the plan all along, and I had initially told her and the business next to hers that it would be about springtime when they had to move, then things happened faster than I thought."
Turner said she didn't think anything out of the ordinary was happening when she received a letter in September informing her of new ownership of the building at 7250 W. 38th Ave. She had been on a month-to-month lease since 2010 and said subsequent conversations with DeMott led her to believe she could stay in the property.
On Jan. 10, she received notice that she had to be out by Feb. 15.
"I feel my whole life is uprooted. I feel like I've been stolen from after having invested money and seven years of my life in this business," Turner said. "All that's gone."
Sitting amid boxes and clutter at Shampooch last week, Turner's eyes welled with tears as she talked about losing her only form of livelihood and having nowhere to relocate or the funds to do so.
Turner said she started Shampooch in 2007, right at the beginning of the financial crisis. The property had housed a string of failed pet-cleaning businesses before she took over, and Turner said losing her business is devastating.
"I was working two jobs and raising three kids by myself when I started this business," Turner said. "Owning this was a lifelong dream, and it was a leap of faith to take out unsecured loans and strike out on my own."
Since then, she has collected a loyal following, with many pet owners traveling from outside the area to get their animals washed, scrubbed and trimmed. Turner said working with animals has been a lifelong passion, and she also organized pet wellness information sessions and performed other community outreach projects to help animals in need.
She said after the initial shock wore off, she began pounding the pavement looking for a place with the proper plumbing and infrastructure to support a pet-cleaning business. In the meantime, she began losing customers and income, making it more difficult to relocate.
"I went to the city for help and they just kind of kicked me around from one department to the other," Turner said. "They say how important small businesses are for the community, but it seems like they couldn't care less."
DeMott said the decision to renovate the property to hold a restaurant was strictly business, and he refutes the claim Turner made in a letter that was circulated around town that other businesses in the property received help to relocate.
Three of the six businesses on the property have left. The entire building is being renovated, DeMott said, and he and a new restaurant tenant will invest more than $300,000 in projects such as tearing out the floor, raising the ceiling, installing a rooftop deck and adding new sign-age to the front of the building.
"I tried to give everyone enough lead time so they could decide what they needed to do," DeMott said. "I'm running my business to fit what the market will bear."
The top candidate to move into the spot is Clancy's Irish Pub, which has to relocate from its current spot on West 38th Avenue and Kipling Street to make way for a $12 million tax increment financing project that will see a Sprouts Market and 64-unit senior living complex built on what is now a blighted shopping center.
Drawing the ire of Turner is the fact any future restaurant or bar would be located across the street from Wheat Ridge 5-8 Middle School, something DeMott said is permissible under state statute.
In the meantime, Turner started a fundraising campaign and began asking for help in the community. She moved all the property out of the business Feb. 15. She is losing hope she can find another establishment to set up shop.
A longtime customer, Frank McBride, said Turner was able to diagnose his dog with arthritis before his veterinarian did.
"She has an amazing talent when it comes to working with animals," McBride said. "She's local and people really admire her. It's a shame she may not be working in the community any longer."
I think for me to get through Shampooch's move out, (on this thank-fully warm and beautiful Saturday), I will have to disassociate my thoughts I have, of grieving. Shampooch for me is symbolic of what America was founded on and that being having the liberty for everyone to follow their dreams.
Before Shampooch I worked two jobs and I was raising my 3 boys as a single parent. I got that loan that kicked started my business (I love you Jen!) and persevered through the times of tribulation in a bad economy. I kept my dream alive and I remained loyal to Shampooch. Success for me was working a job that I love, building relationships in my community, paying my bills and inspiring my 3 sons to be self sufficient. I will try not to let governmental dominance and hypocrisy get my goat today. Thank-you to all the beautiful people that work hard and follow their dreams because that's what makes America strong! - Love Helen@Shampooch
I am the owner of Shampooch, a self-service dog wash and full service dog grooming business in Wheat Ridge, CO., at 7250 W. 38th Ave. just east of Wadsworth.
There are two things I want to do. First is relocating Shampooch. The second is to make it my mission to get out in front of this issue of paying lip service to the lives and livelihoods of small business owners everywhere.
I would like you to read this because this is my story: of self-determination, hard work, principled convictions and a personal work ethic that was destroyed overnight by political cronyism. My American Dream:you're American Dream--crushed by the hypocrisy of a self-serving Wheat Ridge City Council member, and an all too obliging cast of supporting officials that are willing to turn a blind eye towards their own laws, common sense and good business practices when there is a good opportunity to be exploited. In 2007, I took a leap of faith and purchased a previously unsuccessful grooming and bath business that was located in an old multi-tenant building that was mostly unoccupied at the time. As a single parent, I had to make sure that my choice to start my own business would not jeopardize my family's safety. Friends and family recognized my sincere passion for working with animals and were aware of my lifelong dream to own my own grooming and bathing facility. They stood by me every step of the way. My business not only survived but managed to grow during the horrible economic marketplace since 2008. Little by little, I grew my business and I was looking forward to celebrating my 7th year in business in 2014.
In September of 2013, the building which Shampooch, and 5 other businesses operate from was sold. On January 10th, 2014 I received a notice to vacate the property on the 15th of February, 2014. This came as a shock to me, as you will see how this all played out. I was aware of the sale of the property in September By a "Welcome New Tenant" letter and I had a conversation with the new owner Joe Demott. During that discussion, Mr. Demott made me feel secure that my business was welcomed and not in jeopardy. The other tenants were given an opportunity to sign a new lease agreements and one tenant was assisted in relocating. The open lines of communication afforded to the other businesses were not offered to me.
At the time of my eviction 4-months later Mr. Demott told me; he was replacing Shampooch for a Pub. Incidentally Shampooch is located across the street from a Middle School! The irony here is that Mr. Demott was the President of the Wheat Ridge business district, commissioned with the Housing Authority and a City Council Member whose platform was "Small Business" and he owns Pietra's pizza. Mr. Demott was quoted in the Wheat Ridge Gazzett as saying ":But with all these obstacles dividing us, we have the glue that keeps us working together. By actively engaging citizens with business owners it allows each to make meaningful contributions to the community." He went on to say that "While other parts of the city [Wheat Ridge] seems to be pitting neighbor against neighbor and forcing businesses to choose their own fate in a quickly progressing world, it's just business as usual in District IV." I'm sorry but it's not business as usual for me. My life has been turned inside out while the other tenants"”who have not been here as long as I have; have been afforded the opportunity to remain solvent. I am literally out of work at impact. As our city representative's grow in power, I got hit by the crushing blow of greed and false promises. Mr. Demott has demonstrated this by running circles over my head and ignoring my cries for help, while all the time knowing the vision he had for the Urban Renewal Plan on 38th ave.
Yes, I have reached out to the city for assistance in relocating, but apparently the city feels content knowing that it's going to get a brand new bar while it kicks a previously successful woman owned business to curb. I have given much to this community. I have organized multiple pet wellness information sessions, extending my business with others. I sponsored contests in conjunction with the local gallery and have donated my time and money to help those animals in our community that do not have the kind of loving environment they deserve. And yet all of this falls on deaf ears when it comes to how this city views its businesses and more importantly what it values. I did not choose to leave I was forced to vacate.
In order to relocate Shampooch I need assistance. As a one income household, who lost her business at the sleight of hands I simply cannot afford the expenses it will take to make sure that I am in compliance with everything that keeps small businesses from making a go of it. But I know I can, and with your help I'll build an even better Shampooch for you and your pet to enjoy, I promise; I will not let you ,me, or the notion of small business in America down.
Wow! 7 years go by fast! Thank-you for all your years of support. I am looking forward to our girls night out and dinner with you; my friend. Scamp remains in my heart and I believe he is still by your side. Love Helen