I don't understand why Sue has hung her hat on being the face of the opposition for this project. I know some small business owners, and they have a generally scrappy attitude, always looking to network for new connections and turn anything that happens into an opportunity. I don't get that vibe from anything I've read about Sue though. In recent interviews that she has done, she has made the point that she feels that the streetcar is only good for bars and restaurants, and that nobody is going to hop off the streetcar and buy a bulky box of air filters from her business. Perhaps she's right--yet, I happen to have a loft downtown and I have an odd-sized air filter in my HVAC unit that I can't find at Lowes, Home Depot or Westlake. So I buy a box of 4-6 air filters each year, and I buy them online. I would never have considered going to Kansas City Air Filter. Is it even open for business to the public? It doesn't exactly have an inviting store front, it has boarded up windows and a garage door facing the street. If people *really* aren't going to carry boxes of air filters away from your door, a crafty business owner might work around that with little gimmicks like discounted local delivery and volume discounts. Even if dealing with all that foot traffic is tedious, some small percentage of it will lead to new, long-term, high-volume sales relationships.
And what she's saying only makes sense if she perceives the absolute purpose of her business as selling air filters. The purpose of any business is to make money, and when you're small, you have the ability to adapt your business to opportunities that might happen--like a lot more traffic going by your front door. She doesn't have to just sell air filters, she could sell anything she wants to expand into that where thinks she might profitably do so. Personally I think Planters is sort of weird but they appear to do decent business nearby as a small gardening and hardware store. If Planters can do that, I don't see why Sue can't adapt her business into whatever the heck she wants.
Regarding alley access, I did notice that she has what looks like it could be a perfectly functional loading dock facing the lot she shares with the Hung Vuong Asian market. I can see the parking lot not being functional for delivery purposes on the weekend due to traffic, but I assume that it's wide-open on weekday mornings. I did notice it was in a dumpy state but I assumed Sue just didn't want to pay to fix up the pavement, I wasn't aware the city was holding anything up. She probably could have gotten the whole thing fixed up with the city defraying the cost if she had been a little more adept at winning friends and influence, instead of going the petulant lawsuit route.