Thursday, December 29, 2005
That's Just Wrong: Vegetable Market
The holidays are usually a time of good will. But the owner of a south Florida produce market has a bad taste in his mouth. He says the tactics the county's taking to shut him down - that's just wrong.
WSVN-- If you've never heard of Tater Town in Broward County, it's a place where people plan their meals based on what's fresh.
Shopper Frank McCaskill: "I'm getting okra and tomatoes and I'm getting some string beans and I'm going to get some fat back to cook collard greens."
Folks have been shopping here for generations.
Shopper Karetha Bruce: "I'm used to this place. I like these people."
And these people know each other like family. Randy Jesus even grew up stocking the vegetable stands.
Randy Jesus: "While most kids were watching cartoons, me and my brother were out here getting with it."
But since Randy took over Tater Town from his parents…he's had a juicy idea to upgrade the site.
Randy Jesus: "We've been trying to rebuild and put up a permanent structure for over ten years now."
His plans however have been cooked, fried, and foiled by Broward County over and over again for alleged zoning issues. The two sides just can't see eye to eye. Then right before Thanksgiving... he claims the county went too far.
Randy Jesus: "This year they waited until the busiest day of the year, came out and forced us to take all of our shade down."
According to Randy, the fire inspector forced him to close because the shade wasn't fire retardant.
Randy Jesus: "A lot of customers left, and the ones that were coming up they kept telling them, they're closed they're closed."
But considering the timing, randy doesn't think the closing was a coincidence. He believes the county wants to send a message by eating into his sales.
He knows some commissioners see his business as a lemon, but he feels the way he's being bullied - that's just wrong.
Randy Jesus: "It's the same material we've had up for over ten years. They could have said something the last time they came out and inspect or the time before or the time before or the time before."
When 7 news contacted the fire department. The chief inspector says he noticed the problem while working at the Broward sheriff's office across the street.
The inspector says the main issue is cars blocking the ongoing traffic and people crowded in too tight. But Randy doesn't buy that.
Randy Jesus: "I think he got a phone call from somebody. I really do."
As for now, Randy's back in business. But he's planning to go to court if necessary and he's starting a petition drive.
And as you can tell… he has a lot of support from customers throughout the community.
Ruby Collier: "It's terrible. It's terrible. They've been here too long!"
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