Next month, a decision will be made about the fate of the building on the corner of Southern and Highland. Each of the remaining businesses in the building have made plans to change locations or close shop to pursue other endeavors.
Looking back, owners of Whatever Novelty Shop, Southern Meat Market and Sharri’s Discount Art Supply are questioning why there was so little communication from the landlord once the decision was made to sell the property.
The lack of communication has become a bigger issue since nothing has been finalized with McDonald's. The two other businesses that used to occupy the property, Super Submarine Sandwich Shop and Safeway Wholesale & Supply, have moved to a new locations.
The sandwich shop, passionately called the Chinese Sub Shop by Memphians, is now at 3316 Summer Ave. Safeway Wholesale & Supply relocated less than a block away.
Pending the decisions made at the city council meeting on Dec. 17, both moves could be proven to have been made vainly.
“There’s only one guy out of all of us that had a lease,” James Sexton, manager of Whatever Novelty Shop, said about Mohammed Qasem, the owner of Safeway Wholesale & Supply.
“All the rest of us have been here so long, there’s no reason to have leases,” Sexton said.
Sexton and shop owner, Geiser, attempted to reach their landlords, commercial real-estate firm, Palmer Brothers, Inc., for nearly two weeks with hopes to buy the building but were not able to get in touch with the firm.
Almost a year ago, knowing that they would have to leave the location they have had since 1971, Geiser began renting out another place closer to the campus - further down Highland.
Stockton, owner of the Southern Meat Market, said that he has been out of the loop about the decisions being made. Stockton began leasing out a new location on Park Avenue shortly after being given notice. Both owners are paying rent for two buildings, waiting in limbo for a decision to be made.
Schmidt, owner of an art supply store, was unaware of the decision to sell the property until a few months ago. She claimed that the landlord did little to notify her while she was dealing with personal issues. Currently, she is running a half off sale on all merchandise in the store and has no plans to relocate in the near future.
The owners were not surprised by the lack of communication by their landlord. Each business claimed that they had several unattended problems ranging between air conditioning issues to leaky roofs. These, however, were the tenants that never had to worry about a lease.
Palmer Brothers, Inc. afforded Qasem three months to leave property in March.
“I never had any issues. They are excellent I had an excellent relationship with Marvin Palmer. In nine years, I never really needed or asked for anything,” Qasem said.