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DALLAS (CBS11) – A long-time retail shop owner in Deep Ellum feels she is getting kicked to the curb now that the entertainment district is making a comeback. The price of progress?
Felicia Dunnican said she is closing the doors of Elluments Vintage and Designer Clothing despite business being good and a healthy customer base.
“We’re being forced out,” said Dunnican.
She said she was recently told her rent is tripling.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay for this building in the area,” said Dunnican. “I love Deep Ellum, but this isn’t Highland Park.”
When Dunnican opened about five years ago, she said Deep Ellum was practically a ghost town.
“Now that things are going up and the neighborhood is gaining some glory, we’re out,” said Dunnican.
She is now letting everyone who walks down Elm Street know exactly why the shop is closing. Dunnican has plastered her windows with signs claiming, “gentrification,” is the chief reason.
“I knew that the ‘g-word’ would step on a lot of toes,” said Dunnican. “But you know… it’s true.”
Her concern is not just for her business, but for other retail shops that bring diversity to the entertainment hot spot.
“The average person, can only hit so many bars and restaurants in one day,” said Dunnican.
Deep Ellum property owner and manager Jonathan Hetzel does not own or manage Elluments, but knows the market and area.
“We look at it more as what’s sustainable. What is a reasonable retail tenant able to do in sales down here,” said Hetzel.
While the area has a 40 year history of “boom and bust” according to Hetzel, he thinks there is still a lot of room to grow before hitting that point again.
“It’s a good problem to have,” said Hetzel.
Dunnican however fears she is just the first domino to fall in what could be another Deep Ellum downturn.
“It’s going to be Uptown,” said Dunnican. “We already have Uptown. We don’t’ need that down here.”
Calls to Dunnican’s property owner were not returned.
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