CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A popular minority-owned business in west Charlotte has closed its doors, claiming ongoing disputes with its landlord and neighbors as the reason.
“Due to recent disputes with our neighbors and landlord, we are being forced to close our doors for good. We wanted to take this time to say how grateful we are for the support, the raising awareness about the disparities within Charlotte as well as the 5000+ women that have helped us keep our vision alive in the historically black neighborhood, Enderly Park. You ALL have made the past three years a dream come true. We will continue to fight for the rights for Black and Brown women and men to operate their businesses unapologetically regardless of the circumstances and the opinions of naysayers."
This announcement comes nearly seven months after WCNC Charlotte reported a parking conflict started getting traction on social media. At that time, The Good Life shared a parking lot with the restaurants Noble Smoke and Bossy Beulah, whose owner had placed a sign at the parking lot's entrance that prohibited customers from other businesses from using the spaces.
Robbie McNair-Guzman, the owner of Good Life at Enderly Park, said at that time that her lease allows her customers to park in the lot behind the two restaurants, operated by Jim Noble.
All the properties share the same landlord, Browder Real Estate Group.
"It doesn't feel really free because I don’t have the freedom to even use the parking lot that was leased to me by someone who owns the property," Guzman said in March 2022 referencing her business' location along the aptly named Freedom Drive.
She said Browder Real Estate Group ordered Noble to remove his parking signs.
"We are being bullied," McNair-Guzman said. "Jim Noble, not our landlords, Jim Noble seized our parking lot."
Minutes before WCNC Charlotte was going to air a story about the conflict, the sign came down.
Jim Noble released the following statement to WCNC Charlotte:
“First and foremost, I would like to set the record straight that I am not a racist. I have never and would never wish or execute harm on another person or business, and would never base a decision on race. ... I have no contention or ill will toward Good Life at Enderly Park; my contention is with our landlord who owns both properties,” it reads. “Our lease states we have 100% of the parking spaces with our shared tenants, Suffolk Punch Brewing and Bossy Beulah’s. On Monday, March 22, I found out that our landlord had given Good Life verbal permission and wrote in their lease to park in our parking lot. I had no knowledge of this until this week. I fully understand why Good Life is upset and angry. I am upset, as well, that we have conflicting leases and that misinformation on the part of our landlord created such strife."
In a written statement, Noble Food & Pursuits said:
"We believe Noble Smoke is operating in compliance with its lease, which includes all parking spaces at 2216 and 2200 Freedom Drive. Chef Noble is working with all parties to reach an amicable solution for all."
Noble also spoke with WCNC Charlotte on March 23, 2022, saying he wanted to find a fix that works for all involved.
"We're trying to figure out now how we move forward and protect both parties and both tenants," Noble said. "They're on their side and nice on our side too. So my goal is to find an amicable solution for everybody."
After WCNC Charlotte followed up with additional questions, Noble Food & Pursuits emailed, "This is in the hands of the attorneys for both Noble Food & Pursuits and the landlord. No further comment can be made at this time, but Noble Smoke is committed to finding an amicable solution for all."
Neither Noble Food & Pursuits nor Good Life at Enderly Park provided copies of the sections of their leases where it details their parking allowances during that March dispute.
Browder Real Estate Group didn’t respond to WCNC Charlotte's multiple phone calls and text messages requesting comment at that time, either. WCNC Charlotte went to the group's South End headquarters, but no one came to the front door.
In good news, The Good Life said this shuttering is "not the end of the road for us."
"We have some incredible plans for Babe Cave at the beginning of the year," their Instagram post states.
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