Yonge Street independent bookstore staple Eliot's Bookshop may soon shutter its doors for good after 22 years at the corner of Wellesley Street W. due to rising property taxes.
Owner Paul Panayiotidis says his taxes have doubled from $24,000 a year to $48,000 a year. By 2020, he says his taxes would be $96,000 a year, unless something changes.
Panayiotidis says Mayor Tory should think about the small businesses like his on Yonge Street, which he says are being taxed like condominiums, and now the rising taxes have left Panayiotidis little choice but to retire early.
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"My emotions are mixed. I was planning [to retire] anyway, but this is a little bit unorthodox," Panayiotidis told CBC Toronto. "I was not planning to retire under the pressure of this financial burden."
Panayiotidis has been a bookseller for 40 years, and his shop is one of many independent businesses downtown that have felt rising taxes have left them no choice but to close permanently.
The changes to Yonge Street is something Panayiotidis says he has noticed firsthand with vacant stores dotting the landscape and big landlords taking more time to find the right tenant.
It's now something he'll experience himself as his store is now up for lease through an agency, and he's unsure when a new tenant will be found.
"Once a new tenant is found, I have 60 days to clear the place," he said. "If I can find a tenant, fine. If I cannot, I guess I'll be here indefinitely."
But after decades in the industry, the time may now just be right to retire.
"Of course I love what I'm doing, but I feel tired," he said. "I think I put my dues in society. I'd like to read some of my books now."