Despite removing sign, Flip's owner still feuding with city

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Less than a week after Flip's Bar-B-Que took down its half-century-old sign to comply with a city ordinance, the small business is facing another issue with the city.

"On Tuesday, I get a call from the Zoning Department asking me if I had a permit to take my sign down," said Flip's Bar-B-Que owner Bob Church.

Church says a city code enforcement officer told him he needed clearance to remove the sign. Church says he's confused.

"I had to pay to have the sign taken down, and they made me take the sign down, so therefore I don't know where they're coming from," Church said.

Church says he cannot believe the city is finding another reason to penalize his small business.

"The amount of stress I've been under for the last two weeks has been crazy," he said. "Like the president said last night (and) Gov. Romney: small businesses need to get the country going, and here they are beating the daylights out of us trying to ruin us, and I don't understand that. What's going on?"

We spoke with the company that removed the sign Friday. A representative said he has taken down many signs because of the ordinance and has never heard of having to have a permit to do the work.

We tried to contact the code enforcement officer and other representatives with the city, but they have not called us back with any answers.

Last week more than 1,000 people voted in an unscientific online poll on our website. Ninety-one percent of them said Flip's should not have had to take down its sign.

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Flips sucks, Trader Joes is great!
That is all.


Location, Location. The Trader Joe's location sucks

I do believe I would call the Mayor and tell him to get bent.

If the sign person says he's never needed a permit Id guess he would know better then some paperpusher from downtown. Then again maybe the City decided it can raise money for that ballpark its determined to build by nickel and diming every bloody small business within the city limits to death to get that money for Saffo and his buddies

It's not Saffo we need to blame! It's the beaurocrats who are constantly trying to justify their positions (and protect their bloated salaries)!!! Maybe the City Manager needs to get involved along with the County to get "rid" of some of these ridiculous mandates. Flip's is not just a small business--it is a survivor trying to make it in an economy that is upside down. It is also an INSTITUTION. Remember this when you go to the polls. It's our last resort...

The city manager doesn't care how the departments are run. I know of a guy that worked as an auxiliary officer for WPD and he got shafted by a lieutenant. She lied and got him fired. He went to cheatham to tell him about his dealings with both WPD and city human resources and ethical issues. All cheatham could say was: "I don't know what you expect me to do?"

He doesn't care.

The sheriff, district attorney and judges are subject to election. Why aren't city and county managers subject to election too???

If Mr. Church spent as much time making a decent BBQ Platter as he does seeking attention, his parking lot would not have been empty everyday for the last several years. There has to be more to this story. I would like to hear what zoning/code enforcement have to say.

Gee Mr. Wizard, If Flips doesn't know how to "make a decent barbeque plate" then please explain to the class how have they stayed in business for the past 50 years.

And I'm sure the class would be further enlightened if you explained why you expect Flip's parking lot to be full "for the last several years" in the midst of the worst recession since the Carter daze.

One last question Mr. Wizard, do you work for big gubment, a barbeque competitor of Flips, Peta or are you just a cynical hater of small business?

... but "code enforcement officer and other representatives with the city, ... have not called ... back with any answers."

I suppose that's Mr. Church's fault as well?

The city made him remove the sign, got what they wanted and now they are saying he didn't get a permit?

Give it a rest and go micro-manage something else. I think there may be a downtown store with too much window coverage.

The city of Wilmington needs fixing! Flip them off Mr. Church.

This is crazy and maddening. City officials are just begging for more criticism.