Laurelwood Shopping Center forgives all April rents due to coronavirus closures
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Businesses at Laurelwood Shopping Center are praising the owner of the retail complex after they were informed they will pay nothing in April.
“My stores have been shut down for almost three weeks now.” lamented the owner of two stores at Laurelwood, Cotton Tails and Sachi owner Miki Brugge on April 3. “Even though I do have an emergency fund, it did not take into account coronavirus.”
Tenants contacted WMC Action News 5 to applaud Laurelwood President and Marketing Director Cory Prewitt after he told them in an email the shopping center would completely forgive their April rent and common area maintenance fees.
“After much deliberation this weekend, I have decided to forgive all rent and CAM for the month of April.” read a portion of Prewitt’s email. He went on to say, “I sincerely hope this helps you pay your employees, yourselves, bills, etc.”
Brugge says she broke down in tears when she opened the email and learned she would not have to pay anything back.
“I feel like my landlord just really stepped up to the plate and made a huge commitment to all of us there that he was on our side and we were gonna see it through together and it was very heartening to see that,” she said. “It also gave me a breath of fresh air to clear my head and to think about the things I need to do for my business."
Brugge says the business owners have no idea when life will return to normal.
“I know we shut down earlier than most with concern for all our customers and their children,” she added. “It was the right and necessary thing to do. With that said and done, I need to take care of my employees. I also have vendors that are in Memphis that make merchandise and do monogramming for me. They are next. They depend on me,” Brugge said as her voice quivered.
Dozens of businesses are located at the open-air Poplar Avenue shopping center, including Grove Grill, Joseph's, James Davis, Dinstuhl's Fine Candies and Novel books, just to name a few.
Brugge hopes that by sharing what her landlord is doing, other property owners will follow suit.
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