After nearly 25 years of operation, Young’s Kitchen is closing its doors. Before doing so, the Monroe Avenue student staple taped up a handwritten message explaining that they are closing on Aug. 15 due to losing their lease.
Kyunam Kim, Young’s owner for the last nine years, was sent a very brief letter from the accountant representing Nex Gen Enterprises, the owner of the lucrative property bordering OSU campus on Monroe Avenue. The message stated that upon Kim’s lease expiration on Aug. 31, there would be “no additional renewal options.” Nex Gen seems to feel no need to speak to Kim in person; the letter states, “We will not be offering you a new lease.”
Despite NexGen’s insistence on severing economic ties with Young’s Kitchen, Kim fought back. He offered to match the rent the next tenant will pay, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,500 a month. The deal breaker was when Nex Gen’s counsel responded that the new tenants are allegedly planning on investing $200,000 into the property for “site improvements.” “Local business owners can’t compete legally or financially with out-of-town chains,” Kim lamented.
NexGen’s principal, Patrick Collins, confirmed in a phone conversation that there was a national chain moving in. When pressed for further details, Collins said, “I am not at liberty to discuss that property,” but then hinted that he may be more forthcoming next month. Such a tease, Patrick.
Kim’s sign does say that his understanding is that the new tenant will be a nationally known coffee chain, but we have not been able to confirm that.
In short, Corvallis is losing a locally owned and operated business for a national chain. When asked about the future of Young’s Kitchen, Kim seemed dedicated to finding a new location as close to their current home as possible.
By Matt Walton