Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A controversy over color in downtown Faribault September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:36 AM
Panaderia y Pasteleria, a bakery at the center of a controversy over paint color choice in downtown Faribault.

Los 3 Reyes Bakery, at the center of a controversy over paint color choice in Faribault.

MARIANO PEREZ, owner of Los 3 Reyes Bakery in historic downtown Faribault likes the bright green color of his bakery.

“In my country, they use this color every house,” says Perez, a native of Morelos, Mexico. It is, he adds, a “happy color.”

But not everyone in Faribault appreciates the vivid storefront in the 400 block of Central Avenue, an area of primarily neutral brick buildings. Perez was approached about repainting the bakery a more subdued green after some business owners took issue with the color, according to a report in The Faribault Daily News. Businesses even donated monies for repainting when Perez indicated he could not afford to redo the recently-painted bakery.

The entire situation has created quite a stir in the community based on comments made on The Daily News website. And rightfully so. Why should Perez have to repaint the building? He’s breaking no laws, ordinances or historic district guidelines.

Rather, here is a man who simply wanted to improve the building he rents and did so by choosing a paint color common to his culture. So what if it doesn’t resemble every other building in the block or downtown?

You might expect Perez to be upset about the whole controversy, but surprisingly, he isn’t. “I don’t want to change (the color), but I do what city say,” he tells me. “We can paint any color. I like to see the building nice. It doesn’t matter to me. No problem to change color.”

But, Perez adds, “More people like it. I think two people don’t like it. I don’t know why they don’t like it.”

Numerous people have stopped at his business, encouraging him to keep the “very nice color,” Perez says.

I agree. He should keep the “happy color” that reflects his culture, and his demeanor. He’s done nothing wrong. Perez is living the American dream by running his business in a free country. He’s bringing business to downtown Faribault. He’s also meeting a need in the community.

That said, I admire Perez’ positive attitude and genuinely sincere and cooperative spirit. I doubt I could be as gracious. I expect that had this been anyone else, lawyers would already be engaged in the issue.

Half a block from the bakery, Books on Central sports new coats or purple and orange paint. Will this building be next on those pegged for a new paint job?

Half a block from the bakery, Books on Central sports new coats of purple and orange paint. Will this building be next on those pegged for a paint make-over?

In the 200 block of Central Avenue, Banadir Restaurant offers a colorful storefront to those patronizing the Somali business.

In the 200 block of Central Avenue, Banadir Restaurant offers a colorful storefront to those patronizing the Somali business. Will this be the next target?

I've never known what business occupies 117 Central Avenue, but the color choice certainly makes it stand out from other buildings. Should this get a new facelift too?

I've never known what business occupies 117 Central Avenue, but the color choice certainly makes it stand out from other buildings. Should this get a face lift too?

Personalizing, I can't stand the color of these government-mandated recycling bins, which clutter the Faribault landscape. I also don't like the blue color the city paints bridge railings. And once my neighbor painted her house a hideous bright blue. I have nothing against blue, but this simply illustrates that everyone prefers different colors. Now, if only we could take up a collection to buy say green recycling bins...

Personally, I can't stand the color of these government-mandated recycling bins, which clutter the Faribault landscape. I also don't like the blue color the city paints bridge railings. And once my neighbor painted her house a hideous bright blue. I have nothing against blue, but this simply illustrates that everyone prefers different colors.

You'll find brightly-colored buildings in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although primarily a tourist destination today, the area is surrounded by houses with painted sheet walls of different colors. Photo by Miranda Helbling.

You'll find brightly-colored buildings in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although primarily a tourist destination today, the area is surrounded by houses with painted sheet walls of varying colors. Photo by Miranda Helbling.

Argentina's presidential palace, La Casa Rosada, is painted pink. This is the back of the palace in a photo taken by Miranda Helbling.

Argentina's presidential palace is painted pink. This is the back of La Casa Rosada in a photo taken by Miranda Helbling. Different cultures, different colors.

So what do you think? Should Mariano Perez repaint his bakery a subtler green?

So what do you think? Should Mariano Perez repaint his bakery a subtler green or leave the color he chose?

(Watch for a future blog featuring photos taken inside this charming ethnic bakery.)

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling and Miranda Helbling

 

13 Responses to “A controversy over color in downtown Faribault”

  1. Gordon Says:

    No doubt in my mind. I vote for the color. It’s lively and lifts up the spirit.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You’re absolutely right, Gordon. As Mariano so aptly stated, the vivid green he selected for Los 3 Reyes Bakery is a “happy color.” Thank you for casting your vote.

  2. Amber Says:

    I like the green. It looks much better than the dirty white it was before.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Amber. Green is certainly more eye-pleasing than white, isn’t it?

  3. […] A controversy over color in downtown Faribault « Minnesota Prairie Roots MARIANO PEREZ, owner of Los 3 Reyes Bakery in historic downtown Faribault likes the bright green color of his bakery. […]

  4. Lisa Simons Says:

    What a great blog entry, Audrey! As long as he isn’t breaking an ordinance, then why make him change it! As one man wrote in a letter to the editor, this isn’t “Carlanderville”!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Lisa. If you haven’t been to Los 3 Reyes Bakery, check it out. I’m planning a follow-up blog with photos of the bakery interior. The “happy color” on the exterior matches the happy feeling you will experience inside the bakery!

  5. Lois Trump Says:

    My husband and I like the green color. It makes the building more noticeable and complements the dark green awnings. We also noticed the same dark green color of the awnings on the bank building across the street. That building is painted white. I think Mr. Perez should not repaint his building. If other downtown businesses are not attracting shoppers maybe it’s because they’re all the same colors and not distinguishable from the rest.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Lois–Great observations and excellent points. Please stop in at Los 3 Reyes Bakery in Faribault and give Mariano Perez your verbal support. I’m sure he would appreciate hearing that the green color he chose for his building exterior is appreciated by you and many others.

  6. Albert Says:

    I think this is great and even if they come up with a law that prohibits certain colors.. he says he won’t change it… the color on the front should reflect the business personality when you go inside you are presented with many colorful paintings as well. too bad that even some people that come from the same culture don’t approve it..in the end all this does is bring more business to him, I hope he doesn’t change it… great blog post!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Albert–Thank you for sharing your opinion on this issue. I’ll be posting a blog later today that takes readers inside the bakery. You’re right. It’s just as colorful inside Los 3 Reyes Bakery as it is outside.

  7. Adriana G Says:

    Mariano Perez is my uncle, my mother Lourdes Perez’ brother. It’s true that in our country bright colors are all over houses, it brings happiness to many people and makes the towns look “happy”. I agree on keeping the green color.
    (p.s its not “Molinos, Mexico” its Morelos, Mexico.)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Adriana: Thanks so much for your comment regarding the color of your uncle’s bakery. I am quite disappointed too that Mariano was basically pressured into changing his bakery color from that happy, bright green to a subdued gray-green.

      Be sure to read my other posts about the Los 3 Reyes Bakery in Faribault, if you haven’t already done so. Those were published on October 6, November 9 and December 31.

      I apologize for the error in the town name and will correct that.

      Thank you for reading my blog and please share my Minnesota Prairie Roots link with others.


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