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South Fulton Ordinance Costs Black Small Business Owner Thousands, Halts Opening Of African Braid Shop

A South Fulton business owner says she has lost thousands of dollars after a city ordinance prevents her from opening the doors to an African braiding shop.

This South Fulton Black business owner is speaking out against a city ordinance that she says is costing her thousands of dollars!

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion for small business owner Awa Diagne has turned into a nightmare after she revealed that she was told that she would not be allowed to open her braid shop due to a law in Atlanta that prevents similar businesses from opening within a one-mile radius of one another.

South Fulton’s like-use zoning code has halted Diagne’s plans to open an African braid shop in a shopping plaza on Campbellton Fairburn Road. According to her, there aren’t any other African braid shops within 15 minutes of the location she sought for her business. 

“I wish they all know I’m not here to compete with nobody. I’m only here to survive,“ said Diagne in an interview with WSB-TV Channel 2.

The small business owner also claims that South Fulton’s business licensing division and the landlord of the space she occupies informed her about the zoning code that prevented her from opening the doors to her shop. Currently, the plaza is home to a beauty supply store, a hair salon, and a barbershop, which may explain why the city is enforcing the like-use zoning code for Diagne and her braiding shop, as they are all similar businesses.

Diagne’s business sits in the Atlanta district overseen by Councilwoman Helen Willis, who says that the zoning code is in place to “diversify the city’s business pool” rather than “deter small business owners.”

“We want an environment where we can have economic fairness and diverse retail,” said Willis. At this time, South Fulton advises all business owners to consult with the city’s economic development department to prevent future hiccups when it comes to seeking locations that fit within the like-use zoning code ordinance.

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