MEDFORD – A popular new local business has suffered an unexpected setback – its moose mural has been tagged by community officials.
The Maggie Moose Bakery & Gourmet Gift Boutique opened its doors in May after more than a year of renovations and city approval to open the storefront at 185 Route 70.
Shopkeeper Candy Thibeau, who grew up in the area, said she wanted to bring back nostalgia and a sense of fun after the peak of the pandemic.
She said within the first few months after receiving her patio seat permit, the idea for an outdoor mural came naturally as she sat outside at the bakery tables.
Thibeau said she saw a mural at another local shop and reached out to the artists, who happily painted a “pink moose selfie wall” as a festive backdrop for the bakery in July.
The sprinkles and lime-green circle aren’t the problem — it’s the pink moose, which is part of the store’s logo and therefore counts as a shop mark.
On Thursday, Thibeau told New Jersey 101.5 that she is considering her options while understanding that attorneys’ fees for fighting the moose and filing for a mass variance could quickly become “astronomical.”
“Art instead of advertising”
The problem has directly impacted another local business – the artists who painted it.
Tabernacle Arts and Design is owned and operated by John Beaumont and Dylan Cooper.
According to Beaumont, the problem with the moose mural was “unfathomable” because the artwork doesn’t face the freeway (Route 70) directly and doesn’t contain any text or advertising.
“These laws were written for a reason, and I understand that, but I believe there’s a line between art and advertising,” he said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5.
“No small business should be threatened or fined for trying to look different,” Beaumont continued. “With all the run-down malls up and down those freeways, you’d think the community would appreciate a splash of color and something new. It’s just sad.”
“Ultimately, my goal is not to put myself out of business for this fight so we can come up with something else within the code that we’re going to do in case we have to cross that bridge,” Thibeau said in a post on Facebook Wednesday -side of the bakery.
“Right now it’s overwhelming. These statutes were put in place to protect the community, but some are certainly head scratchers.”
She said she still hopes to see what kind of compromise could be reached – without wasting taxpayers’ money as the community had been overwhelmingly supportive.
Meanwhile, supporters will have the opportunity to visit the store for a “Cars, Coffee and Cops” event on Sunday with Medford Police from 9am to 12pm
More than 200 classic or antique cars are expected to be on display, and a new shirt design by Maggie Moose will be sold to build a legal fund when it comes, Thibeau said.
The Medford municipal manager did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]
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