I was in Franklin, the Johnson County seat today doing business and I picked up a newspaper for my lunch read. I noticed the headline immediately and began to read the story about Don & Dona's, a restaurant that became a private club in order to continue to allow their patrons to smoke. I knew where I would be eating lunch.
I'll always eat where the 'Don't Tread On Me' flag flies!
The owner, Mary Barnaby, concluded that Franklin's smoking ban would severely damage her business, so she looked for ways to survive. She decided to change Don & Dona's to the D&D Club, a non-profit, private club. From the Johnson County Daily Journal report (paid subscription required):
The restaurant is incorporated under Indiana's nonprofit statute, which would be evidence it is a private club, city attorney Rob Schafstall said.
It looks like Barnaby hired a Libertarian as a design consultant. The striped "Don't Tread On Me" flies outside the entrance and is for sale inside. Quotes from Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson on freedom line the walls and display cases. Barnaby gets that this is a property rights issue.
"So, the future looks bright. All of our members are like-minded people. They get the picture, and it's called free enterprise," Barnaby said.
I joined the Club. Here's my card. I don't smoke. I give my support.
Barnaby knows her business and her customers. She made a decision that would help her survive. If only the town councils would fully consider the effects their laws have on small business owners!
Smoking bans have swept Indiana this year and last, with laws being passed in Franklin, and also Bloomington, Greenfield, Greenwood, Carmel, Indianapolis, and others; and considered in Fishers, Angola, Jefferson City among others.
The health aspects of smoking are not in dispute. The right of the property owners to set their own policies within their four walls is in dispute. I favor the owner's right to decide. The patrons and employees also have the right to decide whether or not to work or eat there. Republicans and Democrats alike are enacting these bans in disregard for the property rights of the owners.
Next time you are in Franklin, stop by the D&D Club. I had their huge pork tenderloin. Show your support for small business and property rights!