Letter from Ruth Hackman to the Geneva Shore Report and Crew:

Thank you for taking the time, energy and expense to come here and wish me congratulations and the best for the next 25 years of my journey.

I have NOT just put in 25 normal years; I have been here everyday of every year of those 25 years. And NO I have not missed a day yet! I have missed a few hours when necessary, but that is rare (i.e. dentist, doctor and taxes). My days consisted of 15 to 16 hours the first 20 years. And now 10 to 12 hours per day. I did a little math and came up with an equivalency of 69.35 years here….and still lovin’ every day! The people have changed dramatically with the times, but all in all most people are still kind and considerate. And young people are still trying to figure out ways to get attention and shock shop keepers.

The city is my biggest surprise! I had thought the city would support shops as part of their revenue is dependent on healthy shops. The rents have quadrupled and the city has squashed any kind of creative entrepreneurship. We can NOT place anything in the windows except four feet back. It’s our little space we are paying an extremely high price and being told we can NOT have anything outside our space even if it is on private property. And heaven forbid if we place anything on the windows except under 15% and absolutely NO red. I used to place family funny jokes along the window like the old Burma shave signs for families to enjoy and share a laugh whether I was open or closed. And I had so many people come back and repeat their favorite funnies. And yet the city sticks out RED umbrellas along the streets. Go figure! And the city allows restaurants have tables and chairs all along the streets and many times blocking the sidewalks for wheelchair bound people and even pedestrians. But the trade-off, it does help the restaurant’s revenue. Now we have to figure out a way to repeal some of those awful restrictive codes.

Oh and the ‘code enforcer’…how can the city give one person the power to tell us she is NOT going to argue with anyone but will give us a citation and pull our license. The city is giving money to rejuvenate certain businesses but are they willing to give all shops $10,000 for fresh paint and beautification? NO. And we HAVE to keep our sidewalks neat and clean and they have extended it out to include the sidewalks by the streets. I have had windsocks and flags flying at my shop these past 25 years and I saw the codes books where these are grandfathered in, but now all of a sudden I have been sent multiple citation notices and must take them down immediately. That was how people found my shop. This has become a gestapo regime right here in our little city to keep us little shop owners suppressed!! We don’t want NO happy people in this town!!!

No sir, I’m going to show you seems to be the attitude of city hall. I hope we can get a better mayor who will help and listen to ALL people!!! Here’s to the next 25 years.

Sincerely, Ruth Hackman

The ‘Kite Lady’ speaks, and quite eloquently with emotion. The City of Lake Geneva is much the better for having her and her wonderful little store.
Geneva Shore Report AerialEditor

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