Business, city leaders in Royal Oak at odds over security gates

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Security gates aren't new to businesses, but they're new to Royal Oak -- and some aren't so sure about them.

Franklin Fine Wine and Café opened four months ago on Main Street

Manager Mike Larranaga told Local 4 the business bought a $25,000 security system to not only keep it safe, but because it had a sleek look. When the business is closed, the windows are covered by black gates/curtains.

"Unless someone comes by early, early in the morning, nobody even knows they're there," Larranaga said.

But the City Commission and Downtown Development Authority don't agree. They say the gates send the wrong message.

"Royal Oak has always been a safe place to visit, to do business. Just the implication that it's not is detrimental to downtown," said Bill Harrison, vice chair of the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority. "We just don't want it looking like Michigan Avenue in Detroit."

Harrison said the city is doing what it can to get the gates removed.

"They're having the city attorney draft an ordinance regulating the use of security curtains," he said.

Larranaga said the gates covering the windows help the business by creating an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality.

"The wine is there. With that kind of inventory and right up front where everybody can see it, it's just security," he said.

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