2019-11-08

Land-use rules sour future of Bridgewater candy store

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>KEITH CORCORAN, PHOTO</p><p>Mikka&#8217;s Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe off Queen Street in Bridgewater.</p>

A Queen Street candy store must stop operating by November 15 because the business, established by a 14 year old boy a month ago, is breaking Bridgewater land-use rules, the town says.

Mikka's Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe hopes to secure a new lease on life as it scrambles to sell off $10,000 worth of inventory before the deadline.

Bridgewater's Department of Community Development is in touch with Mikka Kaulback's family to help locate a permitted spot in town but his mother, Joanne, told LighthouseNOW that's an unlikely prospect given he's in school and can't run a separate location. The candy shop is currently located across the street from the junior high where Mikka is a student.

Mikka has put his savings into the business and is learning about entrepreneurship, his mother said, and aspects such as inventory and budgeting.

The Kaulbacks aren't interested in souring a relationship with the town, but Joanne she just wishes the town was more up-front from the start.

"If the bylaw is the bylaw and that's why they are shutting us down, then why let us open."

For his part, Bridgewater's Development Officer, Nick Brown, said he should have asked more questions about the Kaulback's idea, and the scope, size, and set-up of what they planned.

Brown said his understanding was that it would be "a very small operation similar to what I would consider to be a lemonade stand from the front porch of the property in question."

The Kaulback's were told direct retail sales of pre-packaged goods is not allowed as a business in a residential zone. It's allowed if the sale is "ancillary to a main use," he said, using hair salons as an example.

Within the interpretation of land-use rules, Brown said, small scale operations comparable to things like lemonade stands are not of concern.

The candy store business grew, and Brown said conversations took place about what was happening, eventually leading to a formal order of closure.

Monetary fines are possible in circumstances if there's non-compliance with orders but Brown doubts it would come to that in this case.

"I'm not looking to fine these guys," he told LighthouseNOW. "I'm just looking for compliance."

In future, Brown said he'll take a more comprehensive approach to evaluating similar proposals.

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