Montreal

St-Henri business accused of gentrifying neighbourhood pushed out by high rent

Tony Campanelli, owner of Campanelli Clothing, says his lease is up and his landlord wants to double the rent — so he's closing up shop.

'It's tough keeping up with the rent and broken windows,' says owner of Campanelli Clothing

Jesse Bowden, co-owner of Campanelli Apparel, surveys the damage to his business after it was vandalized in May 2015. (Lauren McCallum/CBC)

The owner of a St-Henri neighbourhood clothing boutique accused of helping to gentrify the neighbourhood says now even he can't afford the rent.

Tony Campanelli, owner of Campanelli Clothing, says his lease is up and his landlord wants to double the rent — so he's closing up shop.

The adjacent sandwich shop, which he also owns, will stay open.

Campanelli says businesses with big money behind them are noticing the increasing popularity of the neighbourhood, and landlords want to take advantage.

"For an independent individual, it's tough keeping up with the rent and broken windows," he told CBC News.

Campanelli Clothing is one of several businesses that have been part of the changing face of Notre-Dame Street over the past few years, bringing a well-heeled clientele into the area.

But that success hasn't come without a backlash.

Campanelli's store and other businesses along the strip have been a frequent target for vandals.

But it hasn't put a stop to the changes in the neighbourhood.

Tim Hortons recently moved in and Campanelli predicts other big chains will follow suit.

He admits there's an irony that stores like his would make way for big chains.

"Tim Hortons is the best because they can sell their coffees cheap, but for the mom-and-pop shops who have to charge $3 to make a living … we're being pushed out."

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