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Edmonton body rub business trying to keep baby store from opening up shop

The inside of the baby store Two Mothers is still sitting empty, much to the disappointment of its owners.
The inside of the baby store Two Mothers is still sitting empty, much to the disappointment of its owners. Global News

EDMONTON – The owners of a new baby store have found themselves involved in an unusual battle in a south Edmonton strip mall. They want to be able to open their doors, but a nearby body rub business is trying to prevent that from happening.

Tracey Stolarchuk and Joanna Haydaman were hoping to have their “Two Mothers” store open in the Ritchie neighbourhood on November 15. A body rub parlour in the area feels the baby store could be bad for business, though, and is appealing a permit issued for it by the City.

That has left its owners in limbo.

“When the appeal letter came through…we were shocked,” said Tracey Stolarchuk.

“We were happy to operate quietly beside them and see how it played out,” she added.

Stolarchuk realizes some people have been questioning why they’d want to open up shop near a body rub business in the first place. She explains they think their business would fit well in the neighbourhood, which she says is revitalizing and contains many young families.

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“We’ve done our research, we know this is our demographic. We’re not going to back down at all on this. We’re pretty determined to be here and we will be.”

The Ritchie Community League is backing the baby store, saying it’s an opportunity for renewal.

“We think it’s really great that new businesses want to start up in our community,” said the league’s president, Laura Cunningham-Shpeley. “That strip mall has been in need of some revitalization. We’ve been really eager to attract new businesses to the area, so we’re supportive.”

There is an appeal hearing scheduled for November 28. The Two Mothers store hopes to have a resolution by mid-December.

Until then, they’re taking a hit.

“Financially, it’s killing us right now – we pay rent on this space, we’ve got a bunch of stock we need to sell…we just want to get back to business.”

With files from Shannon Greer, Global News