Urban Farm Supply Store Draws Debate

Apr 15, 2013

A new farm and garden supply store on the West Side of Providence has become a source of neighborhood controversy.  Residents rallied Sunday in support of the business called Cluck!.

About a hundred people rallied Sunday in support of a new garden supply store.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison/RIPR

About a hundred people sipped coffee and munched on scones at the Sunday morning rally.  They were there to support a new store that aims to supply small growers and chicken farmers in the city.  Community member Alice Danahy says the storefront, which used to be an abandoned gas station, was an eyesore.

“I just think we need more viable businesses in the neighborhood," Danahy said. "I mean it was just a crummy old gas station, I mean it was just terrible looking.”

But Cluck! has faced opposition from neighbors and the Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church across the street.  They’re worried the business will change the historic character of the neighborhood, and could cause a parking problem.

Vice Chairman of the church board, Jason Simonian, said some elderly members weren’t able to get to the service on Sunday. 

“With every new customer for her on her weekend business, that’s one person that can’t come to church and that’s all we’re looking out for," Simonian said. "We wish this wasn’t the case, we wish there was parking for both sides.  I would love to see her thrive at a better location.”

Opponents successfully challenged Cluck!'s zoning variance in court last week.  Store owner Drake Patten says she plans to keep moving forward and reapply for the needed permits.