BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One Hampden restaurant owner is trying to fundraise enough money to buy a prime strip of the Avenue that her business sits on.
“Our main concern is that some person with very deep pockets is going to come in and control our fate,” said Samantha Claassen, the owner of Golden West Café.READ MORE: City Police Investigating Overnight Shooting in Fells Point
The property on West 36th Street and Hickory Ave is about to go up for auction on May 21. It also includes two other restaurants, Souvlaki and Philly’s Best.
Claassen is worried that the rent may be raised under new property ownership and she could be forced out of the space the business has operated in since 2003.
“Going to the highest bidder really means for us… the risk of somebody raising the rent at the end of our leases to an exorbitant amount that we would not be able to sustain,” she said.
Claassen told WJZ that she tried to take out a loan to buy the property but found that banks would not lend to restaurants that are still recovering from the pandemic.
The restaurant owner has now has turned to GoFundMe to try to raise enough money to buy the property or purchase it with with a partner.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: Hospitalizations & Positivity Rate Continue To Decline
“The more money we raise, the more ownership stake we have,” said Claassen.
Some say the restaurant is part of the fabric of Hampden.
“This is a really fun place to come, I feel like it adds a lot to the neighborhood,” said Amelia Sylvor Greenberg, a patron at the restaurant on Wednesday.
Claassen said Hampden has seen a lot of change since Golden West opened and she does not want to see another independently-owned restaurant like hers go out of business.
“We’ve all been part of the evolution and the advancement of Hampden and we’re not ready to stop or slow down,” she said.MORE NEWS: City Of Refuge Victory Garden Uplifts South Baltimore Community With Fresh Produce
Over $7,000 for the restaurant has been raised as of Wednesday afternoon. The goal is to get $750,000. You can donate to the GoFundMe by clicking here.