To my Customers:
The Princeton Town Council plans to pass an ordinance on February 11 that will force Grit + Polish to close our doors almost immediately. I am writing to my loyal customers to ask for your help to save a business that I started in 2016 to revolutionize the nail salon industry in central New Jersey. But I fear my experiment in offering a high-quality experience, a clean environment, and fair wages for employees will end soon without your help.
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The parking situation in Princeton’s commercial district is a nightmare. Not enough spaces to park; excessive prices for parking; a horrific roll-out of new parking meters. Princeton merchants and customers alike are upset, and for good reason.
Unfortunately, the council has decided to respond to widespread complaints by sacrificing the businesses of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, home of Grit + Polish. The plan is to accommodate employees of Princeton businesses with all-day parking on Witherspoon Street on the three blocks nearest to the salon—where you, my customers, park.
How many customers will return to Grit + Polish if there is no parking on Witherspoon Street? Not many, I am afraid. The same is true for other nearby businesses—B+B Salon, Princeton Soccer Experience, Hunan Chinese, Chapin Cuisine, and La Mexicana.
As you may know, Witherspoon-Jackson is a minority-majority neighborhood. Historically African American, it now also is home to a large Hispanic population. I am both black and Hispanic, and my heritage was one reason I wanted to start my business here. But with this ordinance, the Princeton Council is making the choice to treat our diverse neighborhood as a long-term parking lot for uptown Palmer Square and Nassau Street businesses. That’s not right.
What You Can Do
Please consider writing to the entire Princeton Council at the email addresses below to oppose ordinance 2019-1 that would change parking on Witherspoon Street between Green Street and Lytle Street from a 3-hour limit to all-day. Explain you are concerned about destroying local businesses like Grit + Polish. Describe what you value about coming to my salon.
In addition, I encourage you to come to the next meeting of the council—at 7 pm this Monday January 28, at the town hall, and speak during the public comment section at the beginning of the meeting. This is not the meeting when they will take action, but I think we need to express ourselves as quickly as possible.
I appreciate you all
It has been my pleasure to serve you and the hundreds of other clients of Grit + Polish. If you believe that Witherspoon-Jackson deserves to be a commercial area, and if you value my salon, this is the moment to raise your voice.
Updated January 30, 2019
Last night, Princeton’s Mayor Liz Lempert announced that the proposed ordinance that would have ended customer parking on Witherspoon Street for Grit + Polish and nearby businesses is effectively dead. She said that she and council members heard a huge outpouring of support by email FROM YOU, MY WONDERFUL customers. I felt like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life experiencing an outpouring of love. Thank you!
Your messages of support over the last two days—including several who appeared at the council meeting with me tonight—convinced the council that businesses like Grit + Polish deserve a chance to thrive in the historic Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood.
Planet Princeton reported the meeting first. Read about it here. I expect more coverage in the days ahead from Town Topics and the Princeton Packet.
Some of you shared with me your amazing tributes to a business I started two years ago, with words I found incredibly moving.
A few days ago, I was deeply concerned about whether my business could survive. But now I am reassured that both Princeton—and my customers—believe in what my employees and I are doing, and will support us for years to come. Thank you!