The Mirror published the heartrending story of the East India Grill with the imminent closure of it’s doors forever.
We have been all too aware of the same situation with Blanca Rodriguez, the chef and owner of Pimienta Bistro and Bar.
Across Federal Way small retail businesses and restaurants are unable to meet running expenses and will need to close forever. We are at a crisis created by short sighted and irrational behavior.
A major component of the burden on these businesses is rent. I have heard from Blanca that her landlord is demanding full payment of rent on time, with no offer of relief during this crisis.
If the landlords do not adopt a more compassionate and sensible position, instead of losing some income for a few weeks or months, they will quickly lose all income and destroy the chance of retail recovery. Our town will be blighted for many years.
As outlined in the Federal Way article it took the owner Kabal Gill, the owner of East India Grill, 11 years to build East India Grill as a business. It has taken Blanca Rodriguez 10 years to build Pimienta Bistro and Bar, and it is tragic to see all this wiped out in a few months due to lack of support.
Let’s not place all the burden on the hardworking entrepreneurs who have created these local businesses.
What actions are needed:
- The lenders to the commercial property owners, banks and investors need to recognize their clients are at risk, the owners need to understand that their income and property values are at risk if they do not support their tenants.
- Those lucky enough to have income or pension should try to use the to-go facilities being offered, the landlords should offer a drastic reduction in the rent to stabilize these businesses and the lenders should provide relief to the landlords.
- The Mayor, Council and Chamber of Commerce must take a leadership role to avoid this catastrophe, now.
Liz and Miles Drake