Wendy Kates, a Cherry Hill resident who recently opened Stardust Memories, a vintage clothing store on Tanner Street in Haddonfield, emailed a reaction to my May 19 column, which dealt with concerns about the direction of the borough’s downtown.
Here is her email, edited:
“As a new business owner in Haddonfield I can tell you from experience that there are numerous issues this town needs to address. They are not business friendly. They are much more concerned about their idea of what the downtown should look like then they are about the survival of the merchants. My experience has not been positive. I am currently involved in the fight of my life trying to save the cherry tree in front of my store at 25 Tanner St. They are determined to take it down and replace it with a shade tree on their specific list.
“The support I have gotten has been amazing from the residents, visitors and other merchants. It is a healthy and beautiful tree and has been there for at least 75 years if not more. Many look forward to the spring when this tree is in full bloom. It is magical and uplifting. The Haddonfield Sun ran an article and I expect to have at least 250 signatures on the petition by next week.
“I have gotten 4 lame excuses why they want to take it down but the truth came from Mayor Tish Columbi, who told me to drive around Haddonfield to see what shade trees are appropriate… I guess they would like us to also wear uniforms and all drive the same car. They…want everyone to conform to their vision of "Historic" which I can tell you is pretty narrow and boring.
“They need to address… lack of parking for business owners, lack of affordable food, lack of visibility, signage, and lack of business. Stores are just not making it in Haddonfield and there is a constant supply of vacancies. As a Certified Real Estate Appraiser I can tell them that without a viable Business District their property values will decline…