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La Parfumerie wins appeal, allowed foot traffic

Michael O'Malley is all smiles as he blends essential oils in his home studio on Evanson Street Thursday after winning a fight against City Hall to close his walk-in business down

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Michael O'Malley is all smiles as he blends essential oils in his home studio on Evanson Street Thursday after winning a fight against City Hall to close his walk-in business down

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/5/2015 (1362 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A six-hour battle fought by members of the Wolseley community ended in victory for La Parfumerie owner, Michael O’Malley.

Members of the community came out in droves to support one of their own after a zoning bylaw threatened to shut down his business.

O’Malley’s perfume store has been a local icon on Evanson Street since 1999, and six weeks ago O’Malley received a surprise notice from the city stating his business was violating a zoning bylaw.

“The last six weeks have been a nightmare, I feel I have aged five years, emotionally and physically exhausted,” he said after the meeting.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/5/2015 (1362 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A six-hour battle fought by members of the Wolseley community ended in victory for La Parfumerie owner, Michael O’Malley.

Members of the community came out in droves to support one of their own after a zoning bylaw threatened to shut down his business.

Crowd comes out in support of La Parfumerie and its owner Michael O'Malley at Thursday's appeal committee meeting.

KRISTIN ANNABLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Crowd comes out in support of La Parfumerie and its owner Michael O'Malley at Thursday's appeal committee meeting.

O’Malley’s perfume store has been a local icon on Evanson Street since 1999, and six weeks ago O’Malley received a surprise notice from the city stating his business was violating a zoning bylaw.

"The last six weeks have been a nightmare, I feel I have aged five years, emotionally and physically exhausted," he said after the meeting.

He operates his business as a retail store, with more than one employee, and the city slapped the independent business owner with an order that he must either end the retail component of his business or change his zoning and apply for a variance if he wants to remain open to foot traffic.

It's a move he said would’ve ended his business.

"I would lose my livelihood and Winnipeg will lose the only working perfumery in North America, for reasons I don’t truly understand," O’Malley said. "I am confused and intimidated."

The appeal committee ruled in favour of O’Malley, throwing out the order by the city, other than a small variance involving a sign which he must apply for.

"I am massively, massively grateful to the members of the community," he said. "I just want to thank my neighbours, and thank the members of the appeal committee for ruling in my favour."

Almost 600 signatures were collected in favour of his business, and over a dozen delegates came to the meeting to speak in support of O’Malley and his business.

Several other business owners in the neighbourhood, including Prairie Sky Books, Humboldt's Legacy and the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café came out in support, arguing there are no complaints in the business community about O’Malley’s store.

The resounding theme among community members was they didn’t understand why O’Malley was being targeted after all these years in business.

City officials said at the beginning of the meeting that O’Malley has two choices: he can amend his current zoning, which would require extensive upgrades to his business to comply, or he has to turn to only seeing customers by appointment, without employing any non-residents.

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History

Updated on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 1:23 PM CDT: Adds related article.

2:28 PM: Updated story and headline.

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