South Hadley, MA Officials Bullied this Buisness Until they Left. 

When Drunken Rabbit Brewing initially opened their Brewery in Dec. of 2017, they began hosting food trucks to help feed their taproom customers.  Many food trucks opted not to return (since permitting in South Hadley is very frustrating process).

Owners of the brewery decided to have their own food trailer built (which was called "El Gringo"), so they can consistently be able to offer food (7 days a week) to their beer and wine drinking patrons. Whats the harm in that, right?

Initially we weren't going to post anything about this ordeal, but after strong consideration, we felt the public should know about the bullying going on here (especially if any of you are considering starting a small business in South Hadley).

The following timeline should give you a good idea of what these town officials are capable of.

12/1/2017

Drunken Rabbit Brewing (Opening Day)

 

18 Months of different food trucks/trailers.

5/15/2019

An Electrical Outlet was Installed in the parking lot of Drunken Rabbit (to plug food trailers in)

This Outlet was Inspected/Approved (by South Hadley's Electrical Inspector)

5/16/2019

"El Gringo" Inspected/Approved (by South Hadley Board of Health & Fire Dept.)

No Issues. We are fine and dandy the next 8 months serving food from our own "El Gringo" Food Trailer.

1/21/2020

Time for El Gringo's "2020 Health Inspection".

Inspected/Failed (by South Hadley Board of Health, for disposing dish water down a mop sink (without a grease trap).

We disagreed over the necessity of the grease trap, but it was either shell out 3 grand on one -OR- or our beer/wine drinking customers won't have on-site access to food, so we agreed to install a grease trap.

2/13/2020

Violation Notice (from South Hadley "Building Commissioner" David Gardner),
stating "the trailer is hard-wired to the site rendering it non-mobile and permanent in nature", and that the Trailer is NOT parked in stalls originally recommended by South Hadley Planning Board.

Why on earth would the Building Commissioner now be involved with a food trailer you ask? Apparently the Board of Health reached out to him to help come up with reasons we should not be in business.

We explained to the Building Commissioner (and  other town officials) that:

"The trailer is NOT hard-wired in.  It is plugged into the outlet that the town approved for us on 5/15/2019", but the town felt we were making all of this up.

The parking location issue is a stretch (though we did work on amending the site-plan),

because the planning board felt the safest area to put the trailer would be right along side New Ludlow Rd. (cause why not make customers stand near a busy parking lot entrance to wait for food orders?).

2/19/2020

A meeting was scheduled for this day, to show the Building Commissioner in person that the trailer is not "hard-wired"

 

Originally the Building Commissioner said he was only willing to meet if he could also bring the Wiring & Plumbing Inspectors, Health Director, Fire Inspector and Town Planner.

We told him, "We did not want so many people in the meeting, and potentially complicating things even more".

Building Commissioner never came to that meeting.  When asked why, he said he would only meet if he could bring all the town officials he desired.

2/26/2020

El Gringo received a notice (from South Hadley "Building Commisoner" David Gardner) that there would be a $300/Day Fine Imposed, for every day the food trailer was parked at the Drunken Rabbit.


We were told this fine would continue unless we held a meeting at the Drunken  Rabbit and included everyone the Building Commissioner desired.

3/5/2020

A meeting was held at Drunken Rabbit and when it was realized the town was completly wrong and the trailer is not "hard-Wired" and therefore not permanent, we were simply threatened and told if we did not have the site-plan amended within a month, there would be consequences to pay.

I guess the fact that COVID19 quarentine happened a week later and that town meeting stopped, did not matter, becuse we were still given fines during this period.

4/7/2020

$300/Day Fine Imposed Notice (from S.H. "Building Commisoner" David Gardner).

If South Hadley's Building Commissioner David Gardner's "threats" are starting make him sound very "Anti-Business", its because he is! 

 

David even took a Lie Detector test when he worked for the Town of Easthampton (after many local business owners filed complaints of his Anti-Business Threats)!  The Results said, There is "maybe a truth" to the notion that David is anti-business!

 

Here is a link to David's Eastampton Fiascal:

https://www.masslive.com/news/2011/11/easthampton_city_council_upset.html

As if this is not all enough, we are now also told the trailer would also need to be parked 10 feet away from any cars in every direction.

The trailer needs to have Concrete Jersey Barriers around it and now the South Hadley Board of Health will require the trailer be removed from the property at least every 14 days, and that the facility it will be brought to needs to be inspected by them as well.

® 2017 Drunken Rabbit Brewing.  All rights reserved.