Vendors face eviction from building owner
CALEXICO — Business vendors in the shopping center better known as Price Center, which has stood for more than two decades, are negotiating with the building owner as they face eviction at the end of this month.
The long-standing shopping center, now named Smart Buy, has been the goto shopping center for more than two decades before main stream shopping malls derailed most of its businesses. The center now operates as half a storage shed and half businesses.
Recently, the building owner informed its 19 business vendors it will evict them as it looks to expand its Self Stor-It storage capacity.
“The ownership is developing some changes in what they’re doing. The decision to make changes in the use of the facility is no longer for general retail,” said Calexico Mayor Maritza Hurtado.
However, two Price Center vendors, who requested be anonymous, told the Imperial Valley Press on Thursday that they, along with other tenants, have been in contact with the storage facility owner and strongly believe they face no risk of eviction.
If those vendors are evicted, Hurtado said the city is ready to offer them assistance.
“I do understand that this change is going to inconvenience those tenants that have been there. These issues that we’re facing in the city are happening at a time where we are positioned with professional resources that will benefit those going through these issues as best as possible,” she said.
The Calexico Chamber of Commerce is also ready to offer assistance to those vendors.
“Everybody that can is willing to help them,” said Hildy Carrillo, executive director of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, who sees both positives and negatives in the idea of the Price Center’s possible change in business.
“Sometimes it seems like the sky is falling but it isn’t. Business will continue and we will need to move a little more to get those people in new locations,” said Carrillo, who noted that most the vendors have been business at the Price Center since it first opened.
Carrillo noted one benefit if the storage facility does expand.
“The fact that there’s another big business in there is prefect, because a lot of people need storage and or in the process of moving. It’s also good for personal use for those that don’t want to use outdoor storages.” said Carrillo. “Things are looking up even though it seems like it’s not for the economy in Calexico. It’s not doomsday. It’s going to be a hardship for the businesses, but we’re in it to help them. We’re not just going to leave them there.”
Calexico’s Community and Economic Development Director Miguel Figueroa also assured the city is working equally with both the owner and vendors.
“We are assisting the property owner and tenants of the Price Center property so both of them can learn about the needs that they have,” stated Figueroa. “We are glad to help out and be able to work with the property owner and communicate so they can find a resolution for both sides.”
A view inside the Calexico Price Center on Thursday evening. A plan has been proposed to shut down the Price Center and use the building entirely for storage business, Self Stor-It, that already occupies half of the building.
A view outside of building on Hacienda Drive which currently houses Self Stor-It and Calexico Price Center on Thursday evening. A plan has been proposed to shut down the Price Center and use the building entirely for the storage business.