© Aaron Stuckel
After Sept. 30th, this local watering hole will be shut down after the owner of the business was unable to renew his lease when rent was increased by 78 per cent.
One of Moose Jaw’s longest running watering holes will be closing its doors at the end of September. The owner of Nick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar will not be renewing his lease after the owner of the building increased the rent by 78 per cent.
“I was paying $9,000 a month and they changed to go to $16,000. There’s no way I can pay that,” said Nick Hasapis, owner of the restaurant. “They phoned me Friday or Saturday morning and said ‘Here’ and offered me some money and said, ‘You have to be out in a month’s time.’ That’s a dirty trick.”
Restaurant staff was told early this week that they would be laid off on Sept. 30th. Hasapis said he’s had employees that have been working with him since the business opened 17 years ago, and he’s upset that things have worked out this way.
“I got a month’s notice and they gave a month’s notice to my staff. That’s not fair,” he said. “I’m going to miss everyone because a lot of people have worked here for five years, seven years, even 17 years. That’s too long. It’s tough.”
Tony Kolitsas, who bought the building a year and a half ago with his brother, said he’s just trying to keep up with market prices in a strong provincial economy.
“I talked to Nick and I said if you want to keep the restaurant, you have to pay higher rent,” he said. “Business is business; it’s the market.”
Kolitsas said he has yet to find a new tenant for the rental space but is hoping to put in a small restaurant —without a bar— that suits the office building.
For more information, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.