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Jacksonville business faces potential 400% rent hike, may be forced to close

Southern Roots has been in their Riverside location for 8 years. Inflation and rent hikes may force them out of business.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Making it through the pandemic was one hurdle for small businesses. The ones who made it now face inflation and rising rent. 

A Jacksonville restaurant is facing an unknown future because of a steep proposed rent hike.

Southern Roots Filing Station owners have been warned about a potential 400% rent increase soon, which would price them out of the Riverside location they’ve grown in for 8 year. 

The owners say their building is being sold and their future is in the hands of the next buyer and if they’re willing to negotiate to stay open.

"It’s been such a special place," Mariah Goelz, co-owner, says. 

From the wood tables to the local artwork, Goelz prides herself on the details of Southern Roots.

“The thought of walking away from that is like closing a chapter in that story and that’s a sad and scary thing to imagine," says Goelz.

When her landlord died, she says the building went up for sale. She was told rent would probably increase by 400% depending on the sale price. 

“It’s very unrealistic because one of the things we pride ourselves on here is paying people a living wage. Like we’ve worked really hard to pay our crew and the people that work here something they can live off of," Goelz says.

“Our overhead is pretty high but we make it work, but paying 400% more in rent is just impossible.”

Southern Roots is located off King Street in the heart of Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood. She knows this issue isn't only affecting them.

“We travel to places to see what the local scene is like. When you go to New York, you’re not looking for Starbucks and Target when you go to New York. You’re looking for the small things that really make that neighborhood vibrant and eclectic and that’s why people love Riverside," Goelz said.

"That’s why people love all the little neighborhoods we have in Jacksonville. It’s the little neighborhoods that keep things alive and thriving.”

She worries about the landscape of Jacksonville if local businesses are priced out. 

Goelz says their the timeline right now is unknown because the building hasn’t sold yet. In the meantime, they remain open! 

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