Eltyna McCree, a downtown Oakland business owner for the past 35 years and owner of boutique Underground Treasures, 1701 Webster St., is being forced to close.
Chair of the South of Broadway Merchants Association and chair of the Oakland Small Business Association, McCree has spent nearly two decades in downtown Oakland area.
Underground Treasures was honored earlier this year as the 2013 Best of Oakland award in the Women’s Clothing Category. The business has been a staple in the community for one-of-a-kind apparel.
“I never saw it coming,” said McCree, adding that she was given the 60-day notification.
First expected to move by the end of December, but she says she was able to extend her time till the end of January. The skyrocketing rent prices were not affordable, and McCree decided to close her doors.
“It’s gentrification in the biggest way,” she said.
She says the city is not making it easy for small retail businesses in the downtown area, as it becomes more marketable for entertainment-based businesses.
When Underground Treasures closes down, the space will be used to expand the Vietnamese restaurant, Pho84.
McCree says the landlord told the restaurant owner that she was retiring, and that’s why the space was now available, something McCree says that she has never said.
Three other spaces were vacant adjacent to her, and she could have moved there, but accommodations were not made, according to McCree.
“I’m not taking it personal, it’s just falling on me. It’s painful to go out business,” she said. “They waited to those spaces were taken and then dropped it on me.”
And now all she can do is try to sell most of her merchandise before the end of January. She says she needs at least 100 women to come to the store and purchase $200 worth of merchandise. She says this will close out the business associated with the store.
For more information, call Eltyna McCree at (510) 625-9407.