[UPDATED] "When will Gundam Planet open?" An investigation:
The title of this post is a question we have been fielding no less than 10 times a day for the past 3 months. We have said the answer diplomatically and professionally about 7000 times over various forms of communication and our brains are going to melt out of our ears if we have to keep doing it. Here is a post that details EVERYTHING keeping us from opening our "Showroom," which is the technical term for our new location's walk-in element:
The Pandemic: Obviously the world shut down entirely from March 2020 through the end of the year. Since we moved into our new building in March basically the second the world stopped turning, the building department in our town was completely shut down for 4 months post-move. That was not great.
July 2020: The building department opens! It is by appointment only. However, when you call no one picks up. If you go to the building department you can see people inside (and even call while standing there), but no one answers. You cannot even knock on the door because there's a huge sign that says "DO NOT KNOCK." There is a big sign that says "MEETINGS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY" with everyone's phone numbers. No one ever answers. This goes on until November.
November 2020: Finally an answer! Perfect, we have now filed our application for building and installation of a prefab mezzanine to function as a second floor to the showroom. Awesome!
December 2020: Approved! Too bad we can't start construction because it is literally the busiest holiday season in our company's history so the "showroom" side of the warehouse was being used for storage of 12-20 pallets at any time.
March 2021: Mezzanine is complete. Excellent! Now we can start final interior renovation in preparation for use of a showroom, but not before we file a permit for the removal of an overhead door for installation of a double glass door more suitable for humans.
May 2021: We receive mail notifying us that in February 2020 (mind you, before we even owned the building), we performed unauthorized construction without a permit and cannot proceed with any plans until we "provide documentation proving the work has been brought back into compliance" and pay over $100,000 in past-due fines.
July 2021:We have rectified every situation and clarified to the town that 1. we never were notified of this issue prior to this date and 2. we could not possibly have performed this work because we were not the building owners at the time of the inspection. Now we are simply waiting for them to approve our architectural diagram documents to begin the final construction on the showroom.
August 2021: After being told to provide the architectural documents in full to the town, we do so and are only then told that we need to have signed with a contractor prior to providing the documents and that a permit cannot be given without the contractor information.
September 2021: We sign with the contractor who has experience working with this specific town and gets the necessary permit applications processed with the building department. However, he is told that we never received clearance for the external awning above our bay doors, despite them being part of the original approved design from the zoning department. We reconcile this issue within a day.
October 2021: We are told that because of our building's zoning designation (which as a side note, has never been agreed upon by any two town employees because the maps were drawn so long ago and never digitized and apparently our building straddles a line), we are not able to have "both a sign [with our name on it] and an awning," so we told them we do not need a sign.
November 2021: We are sitting on our hands unable to complete any construction because of the town being hung up on a sign that we have specifically said we do not need.
We are beyond frustrated at how long very minor and simple changes to plans are taking and pushing our proposed opening date back indefinitely over what should ultimately be able to be resolved in one single sit-down meeting. Every worker we have contracted regarding anything--sprinkler system checks, fire inspections, junk removal--has mentioned that the building department is one of the slowest they've ever dealt with, and we're really starting to feel that weight.
This is a very long post of mostly complaining, but we want to continue to be so transparent with you about everything that's happening.
TL;DR: We will open as soon as physically possible. We also will post about it everywhere so you will not miss it. We promise that if you are opening twitter and navigating to our profile to ask us if we're open, you will not be able to miss us talking about being open. If you are able to get to the contact page and send an email about us being open, we will make sure you'll see that we're open before you're even able to get to the form.
We all appreciate your enthusiasm for our return to action so much. It genuinely means a lot how interested everyone is to see our new space, and we can't wait to show you either! I do personally ask that you read this post and understand the headache that our entire staff has been dealing with before making our customer service reps explain on the phone that we don't know when we'll be open yet and exactly why for likely the 7th time in a 5-hour span.
We love you all. The last 18 months have just made us very tired. We will keep you all posted!