ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) —
Anaheim residents are fighting to save a stretch of mom and pop shops from a developer who plans to bring in large retail shops.
The strip mall, located along La Palma and Magnolia avenues, is a second home for a dozen small business owners and their families, many of whom are immigrants.
Miguel Ramos spent his life savings to buy a restaurant, called Tacos Y Mariscos La Fuente, to start his American dream nine years ago.
But last week the City of Anaheim told him and every business owner in the strip mall that the buildings are going to be demolished.
“It’s my life. It’s my family restaurant. It’s all we’ve got,” Ramos said.
The new owner of the property wants to make room for a Rite Aid, McDonald’s and other big name stores. The restaurant’s regular customers cannot believe the news.
Supporters of the mom and pop stores took a petition with 2,000 signatures to the city, but the planning commission still approved the project and offered to help the businesses find new locations.
“We realize that our small businesses really are a very strong part of our community, and we want to keep them here,” said Ruth Ruiz, public information officer for the City of Anaheim.
Rosie Tran opened the Glo-Room more than 30 years ago. She said if the city tears down her bar, not only will she not be able to afford relocating, but it might leave her homeless.
“Where can I move? Move on the street?” Tran said, wiping away tears from her eyes.
The business owners said they’re still waiting for the landlord to tell them what is going on or tell them when they need to close. Until then, Ramos said city officials and the new property owner need to put themselves in the business owners’ shoes.
“Imagine if they don’t have a job, and they don’t have a house. What they will do?” Ramos said.
Eyewitness News left several messages for the property owner, but calls were not returned.
Many of the store owners said they are now seeking legal action.
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