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SouthPark Mall Reverses Course, Allows No Grease Barbershop To Remain

Axios Charlotte

Updated 8:17 p.m.

A popular Black-owned barbershop will be allowed to stay at SouthPark Mall for at least the next year after an outcry over news that its lease had been cut short less than two months after opening there.

SouthPark Mall management issued a statement Wednesday evening that read:

"We are pleased to report that Knights of the Razor by No Grease will be staying at SouthPark for the duration of their temporary lease. We have delayed our other deal until next year and will be discussing with Mr. Damian Johnson and Mr. Jermaine Johnson the possibility of a permanent location for their barbershop beyond their current temporary lease term. Our other 4 locations with No Grease are all permanent leases. We’ve enjoyed a productive and growing relationship with No Grease for the past decade and look forward to expanding our relationship in the future."

No Grease owners Damian and Jermaine Johnson, who are brothers, told Axios Charlotte that they were asked to meet with mall management last Monday. At that meeting, they were informed that the mall was in talks with another permanent tenant.

Days later, the mall overnighted a letter to the brothers informing them that their lease would be cut short, and No Grease would have to leave the space by April 1.

The Johnsons have since been seeking more clarity of the situation.

"Why didn't they offer it (the space) to us?" Damian Johnson said in an interview with The Charlotte Observer. "We know the difference between business and bad business, and this is bad business."

The Johnsons were unavailable for an interview with WFAE on Wednesday.

The brothers opened the location in SouthPark Mall on Jan. 10 after signing a temporary one-year lease in October with Simon Property Group, which owns the mall. The letter sent to the brothers last week notes a provision in the lease allowing the landlord to terminate the agreement early.

The SouthPark location was named "Knights of the Razor" in honor of the Black barbers of the 19th century who navigated slavery and racism, Axios reported. The brothers told Axios they had spent between $60,000 and $70,000 renovating the space prior to its opening.

SouthPark Mall shared a statement with WFAE Wednesday afternoon that said the mall had a "positive working relationship" the Johnson brothers.

The statement read: "With respect to the Knights of the Razor by No Grease barbershop at SouthPark Mall, which is on a temporary lease, we have reached out to them and are currently in conversations to resolve the situation in a fair and equitable manner."

The mall also noted that No Grease has five barbershop locations at Simon-owned malls, including Charlotte Premium Outlets, Sugarloaf Mills, SouthPark, and two locations at Concord Mills.

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Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal