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Placerville Small Businesses Join Forces Against Chain Store Eyeing Main Street Location

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — It's a battle between businesses In Placerville.

Mom and pop shops are joining forces to try and block a chain store from coming to Main Street, a place where no shop is the same. Even the pharmacy is local.

"It feels old school but it doesn't have to be old school in a negative way," Adrienne Beatty, owner at Panic and Swoon.

Beatty grew up in Placerville and owns a shop on Main Street.

"This used to be the cow town that teenagers wanted to get the heck out of but now they're like what is this enchanted little street it just feels so different," she said.

People see it as Placerville's brand. A brand some store owners feel is threatened because city leaders are considering allowing a chain called "Therapy Stores" to move in. And it's been anything but therapeutic to potential neighbors.

"I would say that everything their store carries is already found on Main Street in other stores," said Heidi Mayerhofer with the Placerville Downtown Association.

Therapy Stores offers items like jewelry, accessories and gifts. And if they are successful in getting a permit, Placerville would become their 12th location. The owner, Jing Chen, spoke directly to the community during a contentious online city meeting about her permit on November 17.

"Have a little faith in each other and know that we bought that building promising to make Placerville better," she said.

Business owners said city ordinances are designed to keep Main Street local and chains out, but city staff dispute that interpretation. After getting their businesses through coronavirus, shutdowns and power safety shutoffs, locals said competition like this could take them down.

"I think in a lot of ways what we fear most when it comes to a chain store that it's going to feel too much of an outside thing something so familiar anywhere else that it won't feel like Placerville anymore," said Grant Lacher, the manager at Bonkers.

The city has not yet made a decision about the permit for Therapy Stores. The planning commission will take up the issue again on December 1. If they approve the permit, that decision can be appealed.

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