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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 6, 2020
The Kettle Black’s new owner says he has no plans to reopen the Kent Street expansion in Charlottetown because of the monthly rental price that was charged.
Rather, Osama Abdoh, who also owns the P.E.I. Online Taxi company, is looking to buy a property in downtown Charlottetown and expand into that location.
“It’s cheaper to buy the building and pay the mortgage than rent,” said Abdoh.
If a building is available at the right price, he’s hoping to have another location open in the summer.
He is also looking at expanding to Summerside.
Kettle Black Marché opened in the summer of 2018. But last year, the marché was closed by the previous owner. For several months, a sign posted in the window said it was closed for renovations. The sign now posted merely says it is closed.
Abdoh was business partners with the previous Kettle Black owner. He says he took over the business in September after the business ran into financial issues, which led to the marché's lease being cancelled.
Chris Tweel, declined an interview but said the building's owner, told The Guardian he was surprised to hear Abdoh say the rent was too high on Kent Street because Abdoh had never paid rent for the space. Tweel says the rent he charges is comparable to what other restaurants pay to operate in downtown Charlottetown.
Abdoh says he only took possession of the Kettle Black’s Queen Street location, and that he was unable to negotiate a reasonable rent price to reopen the 135 Kent St. location.
“Again, unfortunate. But if the landlord thinks that’s what’s fair and nothing else – then, it’s his choice,” he said.
Abdoh added that businesses operating downtown are being hurt by the high rents being charged. He said the economics behind rent versus business revenue isn’t realistic.
“The market will correct itself, for sure. But it’s just at the cost of losing talent. Because if a small business shuts down, it will never open again, unfortunately. So, you’ve lost the momentum of people even trying anymore,” he said.
“I don’t know how to solve it, to be honest. Because it's about convincing all landlords to immediately reduce the rent to allow businesses to make money.”