FITCHBURG, MA – from www.sentinelandenterprise.com – — Parrot Pizza on Lunenburg Street went out of business in June, and the shop owner and manager say their next door neighbor, Conquest Video, is to blame.
Conquest Video, an adult entertainment store, has been in business on Lunenburg Street for 16 years. But Parrot Pizza manager Cindy Holloway said a new owner brought in a box truck last year that’s covered in advertising and often carries a blond inflatable doll in the passenger seat.
The truck is parked in a spot right next to Parrot Pizza’s storefront, and is the first thing many potential customers notice when they pull in the driveway, according to Holloway.
“You can’t even look out the window at lunch because you’re facing a wall of porno stuff. What is this world coming to?” Holloway said.
Even from the inside of the restaurant, the truck is a prominent sight. People sitting at a table by the front left window would have been eating just a few feet away from the cab, where the inflatable doll was clearly visible.
“Can you imagine a mother and her kids sitting down?” said Parrot Pizza owner David Deloury. “It’s just not right. (The owner) just doesn’t care because everyone has to make a buck, as he would say.”
Deloury bought Parrot Pizza, a franchise, five years ago. Business has been tough, just like it has been for everyone else, according to Deloury, but he said there was a significant drop-off in sales when the box truck showed up last November.
Deloury said he couldn’t sustain the losses, and made the decision to close in June, though his lease isn’t up until the end of July.
Deloury broached the subject with Sean Morrison, owner of Conquest Video, but Morrison was not willing to move his box truck away from Parrot Pizza.
“It’s there for advertising, ultimately,” Morrison said.
When Morrison bought Conquest Video from a friend last year, the business was struggling. Morrison said with new inventory and signage, including the truck, he’s increased sales 75 percent.
Morrison doesn’t buy the notion that he put Parrot Pizza out of business with his truck. He claims that the pizza shop wasn’t far from going out of business when he bought Conquest Video. He said that the space next door to him is just not an ideal spot for a pizza shop.
“Would you go and open a pizza place next to a porn store to begin with? I wouldn’t,” Morrison said.
Sherman Allen Jr., the Vermont-based landlord who owns the building that houses Conquest and the former Parrot Pizza, said he had no knowledge of the situation.
“That’s something that’s between the tenants,” Allen said.
City officials have received complaints about similar box trucks allegedly distracting people from other businesses in other areas of the city, said Building Commissioner Robert Lanciani, but vehicles aren’t subject to signage restrictions.
“Signs on vehicles are allowed, as long as the vehicle is legally registered,” Lanciani said.
Adult entertainment stores are allowed in the city only by special permit from the City Council, and only in certain areas, Lanciani noted, though Conquest Video opened before the city ordinance was amended to restrict them.