City closes ByWard Market store owing $100K in rent
The City of Ottawa has closed the doors on a ByWard Market grocery store it says owes more than $100,000.
Padlocks barred the entrance of the Fresh Fruit Company on York Street in the market. A notice of termination from The Corporation of the City of Ottawa, the landlord of the building, said the company was about $108,000 in arrears.
The company, which signed its lease with the city in 1992, has seven days to pay the rent owing.
"We've sent warnings. We've sent warnings without any feedback from them. So at some point we need to bring them to the table and make sure that they have a plan to come out of it and start paying that amount," said Rideau-Vanier councillor Mathieu Fleury.
Restaurateurs said they relied on the store for some of their produce and were upset to find the doors shut Thursday morning.
However, Phil Wasserman, who owns the Court Yard Restaurant and Mama Grazzi's said he was not surprised to hear about the company's latest plight.
"Can't say I'm totally shocked. There had been rumours for quite some time that they were having difficulties, and I guess the summer would be worse with all the stand-holders competing with them," he said.
The Fresh Fruit Company has been selling produce in Ottawa for 60 years, but the York Street location was its last one after it closed shop in Old Ottawa South three years ago.
The company's owner would not comment on the closure.