DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – For 20 years, Miguel Collado ran Los Primos Supermarket at the intersection of East Main Street and North Alston Avenue in Durham.
“This store was the heart of this community here,” Collado said.
Collado said the supermarket was a family business he started in Aug. 2002.
“It was a family affair, a lot of great people worked with us,” Collado said. “We had a lot of great customers, too.”
But after finding out his landlord was raising his monthly rent from $6,500 to $20,000, Collado said he was forced to make a heartbreaking decision to close the supermarket after two decades.
“He (the landlord) said he had to raise the rent because of the way things are around here, the way the real estate is right now, it’s so high,” Collado said. “I couldn’t do it, so I made a decision I had to back down. I had people who worked for me for 20 years, and I don’t know if I’ll see them again as far as you know in the business. I’ll miss that.”
Collado said what hurts, even more, is the impact it will have on the east Durham community.
He said many of his customers live nearby and either walk or take a bus to his supermarket.
Now that he is closing the supermarket, he said these customers’ options for groceries in the immediate part of town will be extremely limited.
“I have ladies break down right here on the cashier crying,” Collado said. “They say, ‘what are we going to do, where are we going to go?’”
Collado said he will try to find another location nearby where he hopes to open a meat market.
But he said a supermarket needs to go in this immediate area for the people who live here.
“It’s a must that it’s another store, it doesn’t have to be me, but there has to be another store that comes into this area here,” Collado said. “I just pray for all of them, for us, and for me. I pray that God will open the doors for all of us and for them. Unfortunately, it’s a sad day.”
CBS 17 reached out to the company that owns the building to find out what they plan to do with the property and to ask about their decision to raise the rent, but have not heard back.