MONROEVILLE, Pa. - A barber who has been in business in a local mall tells Channel 11 he was suddenly being forced out.
The owner of Success Barber Shop has been in business for seven years at the Monroeville Mall.
He admits he has been late a few times on this rent, but said there has never been any trouble or violence, so he was surprised by the mall’s decision.
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Now that decision is being met with accusations of discrimination.
“I was devastated. I have a wife, children to provide for,” said James Sanders, one of the seven stylists at Success Barber Shop.
The barber shop has been a popular business, even providing free haircuts at back-to-school time for students.
Now the barbershop is getting cut, told that its year-to-year lease is not getting renewed.
“They kicked us out. Ten days. They gave us 10 days to get out,” said Sanders.
Sanders' business friend, Charles Blanchard, said he talked to mall management about leasing a larger, permanent location.
“I asked her on three occasions ‘Do you have anything in the mall? Anything for me? Any spaces available?’ and she said, 'No,'” said Blanchard.
But his longtime friend, Diana Rustlander, was offered a discounted deal on one of several empty store fronts that Channel 11 spotted ourselves.
“She told me that I was just the kind of lease consumer that they were looking for,” Rustlander said.
Channel 11 called Monroeville Mall assistant manager Kelly Rodacy.
She denied telling Blancard there was no space available, but rather that he would have to wait because of an on-going reorganization.
For Blanchard and his friends, the issue is black and white.
Just this week, his attorney sent a letter to the mall stating that the management had “violated Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act” by refusing to offer a lease “on the basis of Mr. Blanchard’s race” and threatening “litigation” if the matter could not be resolved.
Channel 11 called mall management and their spokesman several times to get more specifics on the reorganization plans and status of those empty storefronts, but have not heard back.
As for Success Barber Shop, the owner just signed a new lease at a building across from the mall.