SAN FRANCISCO—Business owners from Japan Center mall have struggled to pay their rent on time and full after the pandemic hit.
A staff member from Match Cafe Maiko said from an interview that their business has dropped more than 50% since shelter-in-place, and he did not release any information about paying the store’s rent to their landlord.
Katelin, a manager of Sophie’s Crepes, said in an interview that they have lost approximately 70% of their business with shortening business hours. Now they provide limited ways for customers to order, included online order, take-out and Grubhub delivery. Furthermore, Sophie’s Crepes has increased the price by 20% to make enough income to cover their business cost. Besides increasing the price, Katelin told us that they lay-off some employees from approximately 10 employees to a total of 4 workers as they have struggled with making enough to pay rent on time and in full. She stated that they have discussed with other business owners who have faced the same difficulty of not paying rent on time in full to landlords. So far, they haven’t had an in-person discussion with their landlord. However, Sophie’s Crepes emailed the landlord for the rent problem, but they didn’t respond to the issue.
According to a public resource, the buildings’ ownership at Japan Center has divided between 5 companies: 3D Investments, Kinokuniya Book Stores of America, Kintetsu Enterprises Company of America, Recreation and Parks Department and Union Bank of California.
A property manager, Kirsten Fletcher, has been managing some parts of the Japan Center mall since 2018 for Kinokuniya Book Stores of America. Fletcher said in an interview that they have 31 tenants, some of them have been paying rent on time and in full, some have not. Still, they have never sent eviction notices to their tenants, and they are trying to work with the landlord to help tenants who are behind their rent to continue to stay in their property.