Bubbles Banned at Downtown Business

JUNE 15, 2005 -- Bubbles have been floating above the sidewalk on North Front Street for nearly two years, but on Friday Chip Hopkins, the owner of "Nautical Hangups," had to pull the plug on his bubble machine.

The city issued an ordinance saying it was an illegal sign.

Another downtown business employee filed a complaint saying the bubbles stain people's clothes and sting eyes, but Hopkins doesn't see it that way.

"It's just been something enjoyable, something my customers and passers-by have liked. I always have people come in and say it needs bubbles," says Hopkins.

Wilmington resident Bill Golder makes it a point to walk through the bubbles each week.

"I always come by on Wednesday to see the bubbles as I'm going to the post office. I miss it. I thought it was a downtown attraction. It should be here," says Golder.

Hopkins agrees. The bubbles have been such a big attraction he gives out individual bubble bottles to the kids who come and play outside his store. Now Hopkins is digging into his pockets to get the bubbles back.

"It's $500 to submit an appeal and the paper work is pretty intensive."

Until that appeal is filed you won't see bubbles on Front Street unless you bring your own.

Reported by Ashley Hayes