Poor Boy’s owner claims compliance

Published 9:03 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

By Adam Dodson
The Selma Times-Journal

The owner of local tire shop, Poor Boy’s, Willie Jemison says that he is not conducting illegal business practices and has been compliant with code enforcement’s warnings about his second location found in the heart of Old Town following complaints that he is breaking multiple code violations and did not get the business approved by the city government or the Historic Commission.

Poor Boy’s No.2 is located on the corner of Tremont and J. L. Chestnut, and started causing a stir with residents in Ward Three following the raising of the Poor Boy’s sign, a pink mobile home and the alleged code violations.

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Leading the criticism against the new Poor Boy’s new location is Ward 3 councilman Miah Jackson and and former Ward 3 councilman Greg Bjelke, who say that he never got the location approved by the Historic Commission and is getting away with multiple code infractions no one is paying attention to.

However, Jemison and Selma’s department of code enforcement say this is not true. According to Lola Sewell of code enforcement, they have been paying close attention to the situation and say that Jemison is being compliant with their wishes. After giving Jemison a deadline of Friday, May 11 to remove the pink trailer, it was gone from the property by 7 p.m. Friday night.

The pink trailer was one of the main issues people had with the location, but Jackson and others still see multiple violations.

The belief is that his business is advertising more than just tires, but car washes and barbecue as well due to the words being found on the Poor Boy’s sign and on the black mobile hone, originally located behind the pink one.

Jackson wants to resolve the situation without any need for high tempers.

“I feel as though he may not even know he is in violation of code. He needs to understand what the laws are,” Jackson said. “You cannot have an open flea market. I don’t want a situation where he feels threatened.”

While he may not feel threatened, Jemison does feel confused about why the situation has escalated into what it is now.
According to Jemsion, he is not even using the location as a business currently.

“I don’t know what we are using it for right now. We have the sign out front but that does not mean we are open,” Jemison said.

Jemison added that he has “no idea” where people got the idea that he is selling items such as t-shirts or barbecue.

He says he is aware of the large “BBQ” letters etched onto the side of the black mobile home, but claims it does not mean he sells it. He claims it is in relation to their slogan.

“It is because we are the ‘beef people.’ That’s what people know,” Jemison said.

Sewell says she has been on the case from the very beginning, when Jemison began setting up the location around six or seven months ago.

Jemison also said he has been using the property for months through leasing the land and eventually purchasing the property. According to Selma’s tax and license department, Jemison bought the property around the second week of April for $9,500 from Racetrac, Inc., who owns the Raceway gas station line.

Sewell affirms that she and Jemison have been in constant communication throughout the situation. She calls him a “good guy with good intentions.”

Despite these good intentions, Sewell understands that Jemison needs to fully comply with the law. According to Sewell, he has yet to get a business license to operate in the city, only retaining a license to operate in the county.

The original Poor Boy’s is located on Highway 80 outside of the Selma city limits, making it a legal business practice. However, Sewell does not want to push the issue too fast on him because he has been the subject of some “bad breaks” and believes his compliance with the removal of the pink mobile home will lead to more compliance in the future.

What Sewell does want is for people to lay off of Jemison if they have no need to be involved.

She has no ill will against anybody, but thinks too many people could sour the situation further.

“People need to let us do our jobs,” Sewell said. “We have always been involved.”

Jemison says that he has no intentions of causing any trouble, but that some unforeseen obstacles have caused complications with getting Poor Boy’s No. 2 up and running.

Still, Bjelke understands that the law is the law. If Jemison is using the property for selling tires, the Historic Commission and Tax and License Department would need to approve of it.

“If we have to live by the rules of Old Town, then he does too,” Bjelke said.

“You can’t just pull up selling tires.”