Jamaican grocery store in Charlotte set to close rents

The beloved grocery store that customers said made them feel right at home is closing due to rising rents.

CHARLOTTE, NC — A popular international grocery store is closing Saturday, Nov. 5. Island Grocery and Grill on the east side of Charlotte is set to close with nowhere to go due to rising rents in the Queen City.

The store owner and customers told WCNC Charlotte that it was hard to swallow the news because of what the store has on offer. Many have called it a “home away from home”.

Steel drums play in the aisles of Island Grocery and Grill. People inside will say it’s like being back on the island. Customers said the sounds and smells reminded people of home.

Island Grocery and Grill has been part of Caroline Coke’s family for a very long time.

“We’ve been here 20 years,” Coke said. “It’s a family. This store is part of me.”

It serves the growing community of Jamaican Americans living in Charlotte.

Customers, young and old, came all week to pick up their forms at the store. All in disbelief at the news.

Coke said it had been in negotiations with the landlord for months and its deal fell through. Now she is looking for a new place. But it came with its own challenges.

“With the prices, how can we afford it?” Coke said.

As Coke resists the store, many customers have said immigrants and their businesses are being squeezed out of the area due to rising prices and inflation.

“The immigrant population continues to be crowded out,” said one customer.

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