South Fulton owner upset after city says she can’t open shop due to similar neighboring businesses

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — A small business owner says she was told she could not open because her business is similar to neighboring businesses.

The South Fulton business owner says the city’s actions are costing her thousands of dollars.

Awa Diagne says her braid shop hasn’t been able to open in the shopping plaza on Campbellton Fairburn Road for three months, because of South Fulton’s like-use ordinance.

It limits new businesses with like-use from being able to open within a one-mile radius of a similar business.

Diagne argues there’s no other African braid shop that’s within 15 minutes of this location.

“I wish they all know, I’m not here to compete with nobody, I’m only here to survive,” Diagne told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln.

Diagne says neither the landlord nor the city of South Fulton’s business licensing division told her about the ordinance.

Councilwoman Helen Willis whose district Diagne’s business sits in says this ordinance isn’t to deter small business owners but to diversify the city’s business pool.

Currently, the plaza already houses a barber shop, a beauty supply store, and a hair salon. Willis says the city wants to remain competitive with neighboring cities.

An ordinance, Willis says is working with the opening of a new Chick-fil-A, Ardens Garden and Chipotle in South Fulton.

“We want an environment where we can have economic fairness and diverse retail,” Willis said.

The city encourages business owners to work with the city’s economic development department on finding locations that fit within this ordinance.

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