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Hi All. The Juniper Cafe in the Tett Centre next to the Isabel is being forced out by malicous board members and replaced. The owners of the cafe have been bullied since they first opened by the Tett Board and do not deserve to be evicted.
Here is the email from one of the Cafe's owners explaining the situation. Please, if you care about the Juniper or the buisnesses in this community, write to the mayor, councillor and Tett Board (email's below). Thanks for reading!
We are being forced out of the Juniper Cafe at the end of this month, at which time we will have to lay off our 10 employees and will then be unemployed ourselves.
We have been nothing short of terrorized by Nadine Baker, Facilities Manager (past Tett Board chair) & Dave Kerr, current Board chair (who is 2 years past his 3 year term limit) resulting in a toxic relationship that has been left unchecked by the City and has escalated over the past 5 years.
Our 10 year lease at the Juniper was cut short last year; it's no secret we have had many major struggles with the Tett Exec and management. However, to reach a peaceful compromise and declare our interest in improving the relationship, we signed a probationary lease last year, only to have it used as a tool against us.
We have worked incredibly hard for 5 years to build the Juniper Cafe (2 years pre-opening, 3 years in business) The Cafe has been more successful than we ever imagined and the foot traffic has generated great interest in the Tett Centre. We are gutted to know that is will closed shortly. Our customers, our community will also be devastated, we haven't made a public statement yet letting the community know that we are being forced out, I am still hopeful for a miracle.
Juniper Cafe highlights
* We bring over 60,000 people into the Tett Centre, every year (and have been growing 25% per year for the last 3 years)
* We are the biggest purchaser of local food in Kingston
* We are one of three Culinary partners with Tourism Kingston/Visit Kingston
Our frustrations with the current Tett management started with the air conditioning, for which we waited 2.5 years to get proper AC in the cafe space. Also, we were given a back dated bill with an increase on our rent of 400%!! Also, an unexpected $5000 garbage bill was dropped in our lap and we were told to pay up. We pushed back and ultimately did not have to pay these illegal bills, but tension was high and trust was eroding as a result. We reached out to an old Board member 3 summers ago to help mediate a session with ourselves and Nadine, which worked, but only for a few months.
We have documented all of these interactions with the Tett management and Board. We are nothing short of exhausted from the constant challenges and harassment from Dave Kerr and Nadine Baker, all the while trying to maintain a professional and positive relationship with the community. We emailed them again last Friday letting them know we have a buyer for the Juniper Cafe, to be reasonable, to let us keep the staff, keep the business running with new owner (and our mentor-ship)
We know that time is running short for intervention, but please take the time to check these facts and help us keep alive the community minded Juniper, that has truly been a jewel for the beautiful Arts Hub that makes Kingston so special.
This is a publicly funded building, is this move really in the best of the tenants and our community?
Please forward to the rest of your tenant group if you feel so inclined.
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