To Be Successful and Black: Black Business Owners Kicked Out of Shopping Malls Across the Country

To Be Successful and Black: Black Business Owners Kicked Out of Shopping Malls Across the Country

There is something going on with Black entrepreneurs and America’s shopping malls.

Black business owners across the country are seeing a pattern of being kicked out of their rented spaces. In the prime of the holiday shopping season, Southpoint Mall in Virginia gave business owner Italia Talley a lease termination with no prior warning on Christmas Eve.

It was reported that it was because of Santa Claus displays in her store that showed a playful image of Santa being tied up by models, playing off the idea of “naughty and nice.” Talley said to The Shade Room that she was told those images shouldn’t be displayed. “He said ‘You can’t tie Santa up! You can’t tie Santa up with a rope!'”

Talley said business was good for the eight months she was there. However, because she was given less than a week to vacate the premises, she had to throw out many of her things. Her termination notice, obtained by one outlet, did not state why she was being evicted.

It seems to be a pattern of attempting to remove Black businesses from shopping malls as soon as they’re deemed successful.

In 2021, news spread of a barbershop in Charlotte, NC opening a space in the affluent Southpark Mall. A few weeks later, WCNC reported that mall management told owners, Damian and Jermaine Johnson, that their temporary lease would be terminated early. The mall said it was because they were in talks with a permanent tenant. After the news made the rounds on social media, reports came in that the business would be staying.

Up the road in Durham, another business owner experienced something similar. Last year, popular sneaker and specialty clothing store, Sir Castle Tees, was forced to close after the mall served him eviction papers without warning. Earning over $1 million in sales after only being open six months, owner Michael Phillips felt he was targeted for being good at what he does, and a shooting that caused a lot of chaos. “We are definitely the hot commodity because we do everything that everybody wants on the internet,” Phillips told ABC 11.

The source reported that the shooting happened nowhere near Phillips’ store. As for Talley, since news of her lease termination broke, mall management has asked her to come back to Southpoint, however, she’s not sure if she wants to make that commitment again.