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Businesses in Phoenix Struggle As Homelessness Crisis Continues

  • March 19, 2023

Joe came into work the next morning and saw a bag of drugs in the road, human waste on the sidewalk, a pit bull wandering the street and blood-soaked napkins blowing toward his restaurant patio, where he and Debbie were scheduled to meet with a real estate agent about the future of Old Station. Debbie still insisted that she was ready to be done with the restaurant. Joe didn’t want to run it without her, but he also didn’t want to board it up and walk away with nothing. They had spent the past several months exploring a compromise, seeing if they could sell the business and retire together.

“Are we getting any bites?” Joe asked the agent, Mike Gaida, as they sat on the patio.

“Oh, yeah. I get calls every week,” Mike said, and he explained that at least 25 potential buyers had looked over the financials and recognized a strong family business for the reasonable price of $165,000. Several bailed once Mike mentioned the encampment, but at least a dozen potential buyers secretly came to Old Station to check out the property. “Most of the time, they don’t call back,” Mike said. “If I track them down, it’s like, ‘God bless those people for staying in business, because I couldn’t do it.’”

“It’s taken years off my life,” Debbie said.

“For her it’s, ‘Get me out. We’ve got to sell, sell, sell,’” Joe said. “But we refused an offer for $250,000 eight years ago, and it keeps dropping. I don’t want to give this place away. I can’t afford it.”

“I get it,” Mike said. “If you were a half-mile in another direction, you’d be sitting on a million bucks. Instead, it’s, How can you dispose of it?”

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