Small Business: Success Story

The owner of a small business often feels like the government has put a gun to his head when it decides to bite off a piece of his street frontage, parking lot, or work yard for a road or pipeline.

Just ask Bob Wilson and Glenn Trent. In the video, Bob Wilson explains how bewildered he was when the City of Norfolk condemned his family run, generations old small business for a shopping center. In the same way, Glenn Trent didn’t know much about his property rights when the City off Lynchburg decided to close two of the three driveways into his wrecker service and tire company, driveways he had used for more than 60 years. It turns out that the City of Lynchburg didn’t know much either. The City insisted that it was following the law when it refused to pay for changing Trent’s property by making it next to impossible to get big trucks — the heart of his business — in and out. Waldo and Lyle went to court and proved that the City misunderstood the law and had violated Trent’s constitutional right to just compensation.

As a result, the City settled for 16 times what it had originally determined as fair and legal. The victory delivered a bonus for every small business in Lynchburg; the City came to learn that the Virginia Constitution applies even in Lynchburg and it must make payment for damages like those it caused to Trent.

Bob Wilson, Central Radio Company