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Local variety store owners impacted by no parking signs

"This is hurting our business; people are coming around the corner, seeing the no parking signs and driving away,'' says Brent Gray, owner of Shelburne Fresh Variety.
Road sign of the circular shape on a background of asphalt. No parking. The texture of the tarmac, top view.

A Shelburne small business says it is seeing significant impacts in sales due to the town placing multiple no parking signs across their store front.

"This is hurting our business; people are coming around the corner, seeing the no parking signs and driving away,'' Brent Gray, owner of Shelburne Fresh Variety tells the Free Press. "I'm not saying it will shut us down, but we've already looked at our April sales compared to last year and we're way down.''

Brent and Collette Gray have owned Shelburne Fresh Variety, an independent grocery store located at the corner of Jane Street and Owen Sound Street, for 22 years. In early April, the Town of Shelburne placed six no parking signs outside the store front, which was renovated nearly a decade ago by the Town for parking purposes.

In June 2021 a report was brought to Shelburne Council, after concerns were raised regarding congestion on the street resulting in traffic back ups on Owen Sound Street.

"We did go over to look at it, and we did notice that there was congestion,'' said Jim Moss, director of development and operation for the Town of Shelburne. "There were people parking in the lane of traffic on the road because they couldn't get into the parking apron.''

In a follow up report to Council in October 2021, the Shelburne Fresh Variety owners suggested creating a "no parking zone'', which would utilize no parking signs as well as hash marks on the town owned portion.

Staff said the "hash marks'' through the section would create confusion for drivers, and recommended placing six no parking signs along the store front "to be affective''. The signs were installed on April 11.

"Council did not want to impact the business, and it was the feeling that this was the best option to go with,'' said Moss.

While the Grays don't dispute the occurrence of congestion on the street in recent years and the need for no parking signs in the area, they say the number of signs placed outside their business is "overkill''.

"To me it shows people we don't want their business,'' said Brent about the sign placement.

For comparison, the number of no parking signs located on Willow Street (from Jane Street to Susan Street), a distance of roughly 240 metres, is similar to those placed in front of Shelburne Fresh Variety, roughly less than 50 metres.

According to Moss the minimum requirement for no parking signs in urban settings is a warning every 50 metres.

He said based on the frontage of the store, which is only 40 metres long, one no parking sign would not be affective.

Not only concerned about the possible impact on their business, the owners are also concerned with how the signs have affected road safety outside their store.

Collette and Brent both said they've witnessed customers doing U-turns to park on the opposite side of the road since the signs have gone up.

Both said they believe the spot to be more dangerous now.

Moss told the Free Press that a request sent to the former Shelburne Police Service (SPS), before their disbandment in 2021, for reports on past incidents or accidents at the store corner showed there had been none prior.

With the no parking signs installed, the only option for the owners of Shelburne Fresh Variety to have them removed or changed is to return the matter back to Town Council.

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