For years, Sullivan Hardware & Garden in downtown Indianapolis has been known for revitalizing a long-abandoned street corner and supporting the growing neighborhood. This holiday season, though, it’s the community that’s working hard for the beloved small business.
On December 18, during the last leg of the holiday shopping season, Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully encouraged readers to shop at the city’s stellar local businesses, particularly Sullivan Hardware, where an employee went above and beyond to help with Tully’s Christmas tree purchase. It was an uplifting story, but it wasn’t the only attention Sullivan was getting at the time. That same day, a local television news station announced that Sullivan Hardware was caught up in a zoning war because a few neighbors had complained about the store’s illegal outdoor Christmas tree displays.
The store’s Christmas tree inventory was taking up four of the 19 available parking spots in the adjacent lot, thereby violating city code. When storeowner Pat Sullivan appeared before a zoning board, his request for a variance to allow the tree display was denied. Sullivan, who has owned the store since it opened 18 years ago, said in the news station’s story that he knew he was in violation, but had no other option for displaying the trees and supplying the community. The zoning violations had never been an issue until a few nearby residents began lodging complaints in the spring.
But where those residents have tried to threaten Sullivan Hardware’s stability, an overwhelming portion of the city has come out in support of the store and its owner. Members of the community took to social media during the holiday week to defend Sullivan and the good he’s done for the community. Clearly, Matthew Tully wasn’t the only one with a good experience at the store.
Following the show of support from the community, city leaders have promised to find a solution to Sullivan’s violations once the holidays are over. Thanks to the community’s loyalty, the beloved small business should be able to celebrate very soon.
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