Three vendors leaving West Side Market; City reduces rent for parking problems

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CLEVELAND - The disagreement between city officials and some vendors at the West Side Market is continuing despite a reduction in rent.

A letter sent to vendors from the Department of Public works Monday announced December rent will be slashed by 50 percent.

Some vendors say it's not enough to make up for sales losses during the months-long construction on the parking lot.

"We have to get customers back before you can raise the rent," said Vincent Bertonaschi, president of the West Side Market Tenants Association. "You can't take it away from both ends. Stop me from making the money and charge me more on this end."

City officials say they've made accommodations to help tenants. According to Daniel Williams with the City of Cleveland, rent was not raised for six months in 2016.

Three businesses are closing including The Soup Center, Rolston Poultry and Judy's Oasis. The owner of Rolston's is retiring, The Soup Center management did not renew their lease and Judy's had no comment about why they are leaving.

"Been coming here for 40 years and consequently it's like family," said Peter Avery, a shopper at the market. "We've come to know all these people like family."

Leading that family Bertonaschi says they were told rent will be raised next year; however, they have not seen any finalized rent scale.

"There are several individuals that I think are making this a bigger deal than necessary," says Lisa Keane, owner of The Olive and the Grape. "With change we all have to roll with it to make it better."

In September, a petition was submitted to city officials by tenants formally requesting a reduction in rent due to the decrease in business.

More stories on the West Side Market here

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West Side Market

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