Cranky Yellow Closes Its Doors -- For Now -- After Receiving Another Notice from City Hall

Categories: Too Soon

cranky_rft.jpg
Cranky being cranky. Courtesy of David Wolk.
Cranky Yellow has had a rough go of it the past few months. The indie curio shop has been blasted by the City of St. Louis and the state for various code violations such as failing to properly dispose of trash, failing to pay taxes, and now, for holding "assemblies" in a basement that contains mold (what St. Louis basement doesn't?). Although mold was the reason given by Cranky for closing its doors, City Hall seems more concerned about the space's lack of a certificate of occupancy.

For the past year, the sweaty subterranean room has hosted both national touring and local acts across a multitude of genres, from punk and mind-bending experimental to indie rock. And while the Cranky staff has done as much as they can to fight the mold by way of humidifiers and bleach, the rainy spring has taken a toll on Cranky's basement.

So last week, the curio shop and assembly space announced it was no longer holding shows or art exhibits in the basement, after receiving what Cranky Yellow Owner David Wolk described as a "cease and desist" letter from the city. "I must say, I prefer a cease letter to a 'go directly to court' letter like last time," says Wolk.

"I'm not sure anyone reported the recent mold stinky or if it has anything to do with the letter," says Wolk. "I don't know much about the letter since it was issued to the landlord. He just explained that it was in regards to the 'assemblies' and offered his sympathy for my hardships."

Kara Bowlin, press secretary for Mayor Slay, says that the letter Cranky's landlord received was not a cease-and-desist, but merely a notification that the place is in violation of a building code. "All they have to do is get a certificate of occupancy for their basement and then they can use the basement again," Bowlin says.

Bowlin added that the letter's intent was not to shut Cranky down, just get the place back up to code: "We're happy to help. They're not shut down or anything like that, they just can't use the basement unless they get a certificate of occupancy."

The retail store was to remain open, but abruptly on Friday evening, Wolk posted an announcement that Cranky is closing its doors for an unspecified period of time.

Wolk contends that revenue from the basement venue accounted for 35 percent of their monthly income, and without that, it's too difficult to continue. "I don't know if it's feasible to have shows again," he says. "I'm on a mission to save the music and we're dedicated to spending the coming months reviewing and altering our process in order to find a resolution."

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11 comments
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Ransom
Ransom

How about him going to business school to learn how to ran a business and hire a lawyer and an accountant too. He must be intending to fail.

DowntownSTLBiz
DowntownSTLBiz

He should hold a fund raiser for building improvements, a la Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo.  I'm picturing a giant spray-painted thermometer on Cherokee.

Egolterman
Egolterman

Where is this shop? May be Checketts has room for it in the Opera House. It is huge,or when they get the Abrams block, for more than this. That's how Downtowns come back-the big, the bad, the beautiful all under one roof. Blue Man group played one night in St. Louis. It has played in Chicago for 25 years. May be Downtown can offer a long-running something, We are closer for a lot of people.

benton park is for lovers
benton park is for lovers

Wasn't this the dude who didn't know he had to pay taxes and then complained when the city said he had to pay them? I think some time off to take the most basic business course ever might be a wise idea in this situation.

Mandy
Mandy

Good riddance. What a damn whiner. There's a business association on Cherokee if you need guidance on how to run a business, but I would think anyone with half a brain would realize the need for occupancy permits, trash service, and  paying taxes.

Lizzy
Lizzy

Whoa Mandy McNoFace, that's really mean. Cranky is a great place with awesome local art and friendly people. I always recommend it to people and I hope they get this figured out and return really soon. Whatsa matta? They didn't want to buy your Color By Numbers or something? 

Dave
Dave

Actually Lizzy McAlsoNoFace, Mandy Mc"Meanie" is completely right. Just because Cranky Yellow has "awesome local art and friendly people," it doesn't mean that Wolk is  more entitled than any other business owner in this city. Rules are rules and he should follow them. Instead he bitches and whines and a lot of people (especially other business owners who have dealt with the same problems yet never have complained about the rules for a second) are fed up with it. So sorry that Mandy hurt your feelings, Lizzy, but she is sharing the same sentiments as a lot of people. Get thicker skin and deal with the truth.

Jared Granda
Jared Granda

The guy above was rude about it, but he's right. It doesn't matter how nice the employees are, a business is a business. You have no right to complain when you skip on taxes and don't bother to find out the local requirements of running a shop in your neighborhood.

Jeff Kopp
Jeff Kopp

Yeah, I was just about to point out that superfluous apostrophe, too! Yank it, Diana.

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