Support innovative businessowners

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I am writing in response to the letter from Mr. Ledner complaining about Clout’s displays along the coast highway in last week’s local paper. It seems to me both Mr. Ledner and Clout are both exercising their rights of free speech and the right to express themselves, so I, too, wish to join in.

As a longtime resident I find the displays at Clout most colorful and entertaining, personally. Mr. Ledner claims they somehow block your vision upon exiting the driveway. This is truly at best a weak point to bolster his claim they are in need of removal. He also sees the displays as a self-described eyesore. Might I ask Mr. Ledner to see them for what they truly are-an attention-attracting method for an honorable local Malibu businessperson trying to earn an honest living.

The entire community should rally behind all our local merchants efforts to help them gain exposure, support and customers if we expect them to survive, profit and continue to serve our local community’s needs. Far too many small businesses have already fled Malibu. We surely don’t need to lose another one due to our lack of support of these innovative efforts to survive the hard retail situation they face.

I’m truly sorry that Mr. Ledner seems to fail to understand the struggle small business owners face in the weak economy of today. As a fellow entrepreneur, I applaud the owner or owners of Clout Surf Store in their attempt to bring attention to their otherwise easily missed location.

I see this as a clear example of the type of innovation, resourcefulness and outside the box thinking that has made our country great and should be encouraged, for crying out loud, especially during times like these. We must all recognize that given the current market we are all enduring many local businesses are struggling to survive and in fact closing and are in dire need of our support. Instead of complaining about the displays, they should be embraced as a sign the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well in Malibu. If we expect small stores to survive and serve the community, some leeway on minor issues such as Mr. Ledner has pointed out should be considered for everyone’s sake.

Clout should receive praise and a community award for their innovative efforts to attract customers.

Bill Barlow