Hearth and Home owner Bob Pieper arrived at work Monday to find a Coastal Copiers Sales and Service van parked outside his shop — with large signs in the windows reading, “Going out of Business Sale” and an arrow pointing to his store.
Pieper, who emphatically said he is not going out of business, can’t have the vehicle towed until 72 hours have passed.
Vicky Nuss, who co-owns the copy shop business with her husband Don, called the Pilot Tuesday to say they’d planned on moving the van that morning, but the Piepers had blocked the van in with a forklift in the front and a truck in the rear — with scant inches to spare on either end.
“Isn’t parking allowed on Railroad Street?” she said. “And there’s nothing prohibiting advertising. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s not illegal. As long as we’re able to park there, I can put whatever signage I want on my van.”
When asked what motivated her to do so, Nuss declined comment.
The animosity between the two entities is long-standing.
Pieper thinks the work is politically motivated.
His son Jake, who also works at the hot tub and fireplace store, retained his mayoral seat against Teresa Lawson in last week’s general election. A day after the election, he asked Lawson and one other city committee member to resign, citing comments they’d made he felt were disrespectful toward the city.
Lawson said she had not heard about the incident.
Don Nuss was fired from his position on the city’s Urban Renewal Advisory Committee in January 2011, after then-URA commissioner Jake Piper reported to the URA Chair, Mayor Larry Anderson, that Nuss’ “aggressive and threatening” behavior in or after a March 2010 meeting should not be tolerated.
It was first brought to Anderson’s attention a month after Nuss was appointed to the URA, according to Pilot records.
“I brought it up, but Larry Anderson took it very seriously,” Jake said, adding that Nuss’ father had gone to prison on weapons charges that year and that shortly thereafter Nuss came to Pieper’s shop and was “threatening and yelling at me,” Jake said Tuesday.
Out of that, he added, came new security measures in the city council chambers.
The URA is a city agency that mirrors the Brookings City Council. The mayor and councilors serve as commission members, and the city manager is the executive director.