Stuff We Sell

Support DC's Record, Book, and Vintage Clothing Shops Now Under Attack


The DC Government has launched a regulatory attack on small businesses in DC that sell used books, records, and clothing. In the past months they have raided, fined, and threatened with closure a myriad of long-established neighborhood shops under the guise of enforcing anti-fencing laws. Details of these actions are better described in a petition (whose text is copied in its entirely after the jump) that we strongly recommend that you read and hope you will sign.

On April 4, officials with the DC Office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) raided a number of Adams Morgan and U Street-area businesses that sell vintage and used goods, threatening them with fines and closure for operating without a secondhand business license. This license is intended to regulate pawn shops, to safeguard against the selling of stolen goods.

The regulations would require shops like Meeps, Idle Time Books, GoodWood, and Miss Pixies -- as well as all the record stores in town -- to submit to MPD's pawn unit a detailed list of goods acquired each time they make a purchase. Additionally, MPD wants the stores to hold items for 15 days for police inspection before they can be sold. These requirements introduce a regulatory load which helps no one and threatens the existence of the small businesses that make DC unique.

DC's secondhand business regulations are outdated, unnecessarily burdensome, and overly broad. A lawyer working with DC's small business community has proposed amendments to the regulations that would bring them up to date and carve out exemptions for the businesses described above.

Please add your name to this petition to request that the City Council pass emergency legislation that would provide 90 days of relief and time to establish a permanent exemption for businesses that sell used and vintage goods. It's vital that this happen to re-establish a sense of trust between local government and the businesses that drive our local economy.

I live around DC, but not in DC; does my signature count?

The answer is an emphatic "yes."

When you come into DC to patronize record stores or vintage shops, the taxes you pay on those goods are revenue for the city. So are the taxes you pay when you decide to grab a bite at a restaurant before/after your vinyl adventures and the parking meter fees or Metro fare you pay during your visits. It's all connected. If you spend money in DC -- and especially if vintage shops or record stores are destination points for you -- then your signature counts.

If you live in MD or VA and you want to continue to frequent the independently owned shops that make DC awesome, please do sign, and please share the petition with others.

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