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SHERWOOD PARK, Ontario -- In an attempt to stop graffiti from defacing their convenience store here, single-store owners Dale and Molly Willis are inviting local graffiti artists into Molly's Mini Mart to paint the walls and windows, the Edmonton Sun reported.
"We've only just started," said Dale Willis. "So far it's going well. Nobody has tagged us since it began."
There are rules, though—no obscenities or gang symbols.
"[The art] is turning out far better than I expected it to," Dale Willis added.
Local artists will also be able to use a large blank wall on the side of the store as a "free wall" where graffiti will be allowed.
"We'll be out there watching them and making sure nobody passing by thinks they're vandalizing the place," Molly Willis told the paper.
The owners expect some criticism from area residents. However, the graffiti is an increasing problem. In April, Sherwood Park police urged local residents to report graffiti, which they called a significant problem.
In Edmonton, building owners will be fined if they don't clean up graffiti quickly enough. In one year, 825 properties were given warnings, according to the report.
"The problem for a lot of kids is that they don't have a place to express themselves," Molly Willis told the paper. "If you give them a place to do that, schools and other places won't get hit so much."