Tammy Brown and her son Lonnie are a mother and son team that own Brown’s Tire Sales in Columbus, Ohio. The business originally launched more than 30 years ago by Tommy Brown who has now passed it down to his wife and son. In the early 1990’s the county approached the Brown’s regarding code violations and concerns about “curb appeal”. Tommy Brown made what he thought were the necessary improvements and thought the matter had been put to rest. Years later, they were contacted again about possible code violations, and were soon visited by someone from the local zoning office. The representative discussed some of the same violations from the original complaint and stated that if they weren’t corrected immediately, they were in danger of being shut down. In a panic, the Browns searched for help and someone put them in touch with the SBDC.
Tammie and Lonnie Brown went to the Small Business Development Center at Columbus State and met with advisor Jerome Jones. They were frustrated and concerned that their only means of providing for their family was being jeopardized for violations they had thought were corrected in the past.
After learning a little more about their situation Jones contacted Alex Beres, Senior Program Coordinator for Economic Development at Franklin County. Beres referred them to the head of the zoning department where the business was reassured that the goal of the meeting was not to put them out of business. The court date was postponed to give them the opportunity to address the issues in the most cost effective manner.
Brown’s Tire Sales has addressed the zoning issues and continues to be in good standing with the township and the county. Jones continues to work with them on issues that affect many small businesses such as cash flow and inventory management concerns.
Tammie Brown says, “seek advice from the SBDC and your other partners in the small business and economic development arenas. They can provide many services that you wouldn’t necessarily think of that may very well save your business and your livelihood.”