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Business owners say rent increases are forcing them out of Northern California town

Jackson small businesses concerned over major rent hikes
Jackson small businesses concerned over major rent hikes 02:19

JACKSON — Business owners in one Northern California city are sounding the alarm after rent increases in their buildings. Tenants on Main Street in the Amador County town of Jackson are asking why the increases are happening now and what lies ahead.

It took multiple years to build Baker Street West and only a few weeks for it to face collapse.

Wolfgang and Linda Hein have worked in Jackson for two decades operating Baker Street West and Hein & Company Books and Antiques.

"We always had a great relationship with our landlord, and when we started making improvements, we didn't have any expectations that we had to leave," Linda said.

They didn't expect a rent increase that doubled their cost.

"They wanted to double it to $6,000 and we negotiated it down to 5, and several years later, they wanted more rent so it went from 5 to $10,000," Wolfgang said.

Property owner Stan Tuchowicz told CBS13 that the rent increases were a reflection of higher city utility costs and an adjustment on what he said were cheaper rents for a long time.

The Heins say they asked to gradually work up to $10,000 but were told to pay that or leave.

"When they start doubling the rent and not working with people, that just causes business to collapse," Wolfgang said.

So the bookstore moved to Sutter Creek and the theatre will pack up after its' performances wrap up this month.

"We finish our Christmas carol production on December 10, and then we start to make a plan to remove Baker Street West," Linda said.

With a concern of what happens to Main Street, there is hope that this isn't the end of Baker Street West.

"Our attitude is we are going to be like the phoenix," Linda said. "We may have burned down into this building, but we're going to rise up again."

In the meantime, businesses facing a change in their financial situation in Jackson are looking at other communities, like Sutter Creek, to move to.  

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