Fast Casual:

Ann Costlow was all set to open her first Sofi’s Crepes franchised location in Annapolis, Md., when she heard from an inspector a building permit was required despite her being told otherwise.

Then, an addendum was found in the lease that said there could be no cooking in the building even though her franchised Sofi’s location was previously a restaurant.

“It was unbelievable. It was a nightmare,” Costlow said. “We were never told there was anything in the lease. We have been knocking on every politician’s door to get help. No one can explain why this addendum was filed.”

Costlow had to endure two public hearings, the first on May 21 and a second June 2, before she received the unanimous go-ahead to open Sofi’s. So after the location’s final inspection June 8, Costlow signed the occupancy permit and turned around the sign on the door.

Even though it was going to take an hour to prepare crepe batter and further prepare the restaurant, Costlow said her main goal was to get the location open.

“Within five minutes we had guests,” she said. “We just got it all together and had a great first weekend, actually.”

Turning obstacles into opportunities… read on.