Business Owner Fights City

By: Lori Dougovito Email
By: Lori Dougovito Email

Mark Michaels, owner of Contemporary Shoe Repair, bought airtime taking on Mayor Virg Bernero and downtown construction.

Michaels says the city unfairly took down signs he put up directing traffic to his store through a construction zone. His store is on the corner of Washington Avenue and Kalamazoo Street. Kalamazoo Street is closed through November while the city works on its Combined Sewer Overflow project.

"I contacted city officials and they agreed to allow me to put up signs directing traffic to my store," explained Michaels.

Problem was, he never got a permit. "I was told I didn't need one," he says. The city says that's no so and his signs violated the sign ordinance. His signs were removed and returned to his store last week.

To let people know how he felt, Michaels bought eight months of radio advertising on two Citadel Broadcasting stations. The tag line on one ad is, "The Mayor's economic construction is economic destruction."

Mayor Virg Bernero says, "If I look the other way for him, then pretty soon we'll have four or five other signs up there."

Instead, the city put up community signs throughout the downtown. The signs remind people that Washington Business is open.

The city says it will continue to monitor traffic and adjust signs if necessary. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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