Thursday, July 24, 2008


I have a severe bias against those that go door-to-door soliciting things. It usually happens that they ring my doorbell when my son is napping. He's a light sleeper. A ringing doorbell can certainly ruin a day by ruining a nap.

Given this preference I wasn't all that excited about going door-to-door soliciting signatures for my liquor license petition. Knocking on the doors of strangers isn't my idea of fun. And while it may not have been fun it sure was interesting.

It's possible to hire a company that solicits signatures for you. Primarily through a mailing campaign which seems really impersonal. It was suggested by my alderman that I beat the street for my own signatures. It turned out to be a great experience.

For the most part people were happy to see me and sign my petition. People seemed to fall into 2 categories. Longtime residents who are happy to see new things going in or new residents who moved in because of the potential on Cherokee. There were a handful, and certainly a minority of people and businesses, who refused to sign. Some people said they'd be happy to come to my place but that they were concerned with the gentrification of the area. That one was difficult to fully digest. One business owner admitted a history with alcohol that prevented them from signing. It wasn't clear if it was this particular person or maybe a family member with the history. I can't really disparage them for not signing.

Most people were excited. They'd seen work happening on the building and were anxious to find out what is going in there. I was invited into some houses and introduced around. A couple of people went out of their way to get me in contact with some of the others on my list who didn't happen to be around when I showed up. One property owner in particular who doesn't live in the building they own asked me to leave a petition with a neighbor so she could come down and pick it up. She brought it to her husband who, I later found out, is very ill. She mailed it back to me with the signatures and a little note wishing me good luck on my new adventure.

Some of the doors I knocked on were answered by people who obviously weren't expecting a stranger. Doors were answered by women in tears. One woman was nursing a baby. One man was in a towel. All of these people, while they were being inconvenienced, agreed to sign.

All in all it forced me to meet people I otherwise may not have met and I think it'll make my business and hopefully in turn the neighborhood stronger.

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