Let’s help local business
For the Nevada Appeal
Lest we forgot during this period of political warfare, we really do rely on small businesses to help grow our community.
My friend, Colleen Bannister, has been my physical fitness trainer for several years, and conducts a boot-camp training program for me and a growing number of other trainees in her new business, 6Week Workout.
I complain and whine (breaking my own rules) to Ms. Bannister all the time that she is killing me. Like my drill sergeant of fifty-five years ago, she just smiles (he sneered) and says, “Keep working (my drill sergeant used much more colorful language). You’re not dead, yet!”
My fellow trainees, all much younger than I and mostly women, pipe up with “Hey Gene, I watch Grey’s Anatomy. I have a straw and box cutter and know how to do a tracheotomy. I can save you!”
“It’s my heart I worry about,” I gasped with dramatic emphasis. Another of my colleagues pipes up sweetly with “Hey Gene, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I can do heart surgery.” That’s a confidence builder!
All kidding aside, I rely on Ms Bannister’s small business and appreciate her and my fellow trainees for helping me stay healthy. I like the good friendships the boot camp engenders. Colleen, however, almost wasn’t able to open her boot camp fitness facility because of the Carson City Planning Department.
When she decided to go into business for herself she looked for an appropriate space and discovered there was an abundance of vacancies throughout Carson City. Landlords were anxious to give her a good break with a lease and to make reasonable modifications.
Ms. Bannister then encountered the Carson City Planning Department. She needed to get a license to operate her boot camp. She’s an intelligent, articulate and attractive young woman and went by herself to secure her license.
Here she encountered rude bureaucrats ” perhaps some gender bias as well ” who were interested in taking her money but not in offering any assistance.
They argued with her over just what type of business she was applying for, how many bathrooms were needed and what kind of handicapped access was required. These, by the way, are all legitimate questions; but they were posed as challenges and obstacles, not as “let’s see how we can help you start your business.”
She left in tears. She returned with her husband, but that didn’t seem to help either. She finally went back with an attorney (a personal friend who had had much experience with the Planning Department) and was successful in securing her license and new place of business. I have heard this same complaint from many others seeking business licenses. It needs to stop.
I hope our new mayor, Bob Crowell, and the Board of Supervisors will take a hard look at the Planning Department.
I understand the Department has responsibilities but it also needs to be “business friendly.” It’s another example of a little civility and customer care going a long way to help make Carson City a better place to live and work.
Perhaps the Planning Department staff should sign up for Ms. Bannister’s class and get a life, or at least a different perspective.
– Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada superintendent of of schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter High School in Carson City.