This Black online vendor says her city needs to evolve with the times.
Shana Manradge, the owner of A Better Market, has been forced out of business after Paterson, New Jersey, Health Officer Paul Persaud ordered her to shut down her online services for not having a municipal health license.
According to Paterson Press, Persaud was assigned to deliver the order to Manradge at her home after the city received an anonymous complaint.
“It’s food, and there are laws,” Persaud said. “Her heart can be in the right place, but we have to protect the health of the public.”
Manradge launched her online business to connect her community with affordable food. Weekly trips to the countryside are how she stocks up on products such as eggs, poultry, and vegetables, which her online marketplace offers for a cheaper price. “I just want to provide fresh quality food to my community,” Manradge said. She explained that her marketplace provided fresher options than most food products in local supermarkets.
“The city doesn’t have an ordinance for a store like mine — an online business,” Manradge said. “The city needs to catch up to the 21st century.”
According to Persaud, Manradge has been advised by health officials on how to run her online business legally by obtaining a retail food license with a brick-and-mortar shop or a wholesale food license granted by the state. “Either way, there’s no way around it,” Persaud said.
Manradge said her business is listed on the city’s Chamber of Commerce website. However, it does not fall within any categories regarding businesses selling food. Although she struggled to find a space to apply for a license, Manradge has been warned not to reopen her business without a city license unless she wishes to be summonsed or fined.
Her business was shut down following feature stories about her business published by Paterson Press, The Record, and the Herald News. The city inspector said the stories had nothing to do with issuing the order.
Source: Black Enterprise