CHARLOTTE — The owners of a popular barbershop said on Tuesday their lease at the SouthPark Mall in south Charlotte was abruptly canceled. The next day, the management company said Knights of the Razor by No Grease can stay for the duration of its temporary lease.
Brothers Damien and Jermaine Johnson own No Grease barbershops. They have been in business for more than 25 years and have multiple locations, including the one in SouthPark Mall.
“So getting into SouthPark here in Charlotte puts you at the pinnacle of business,” co-owner Jermaine Johnson said.
The brothers had their eyes on a location at SouthPark while the other locations proved to be profitable.
“When you have come from Central Avenue, and you have made it all the way to SouthPark, you have taken the entrepreneurial journey,” Damien Johnson said.
The brothers got that opportunity late last year. They signed a lease and opened their shop in January. The Johnsons wanted a permanent lease, but they said the mall would only give them a temporary one.
They trusted Simon Properties, SouthPark’s manager, because they have multiple stores at other locations.
“Because the relationship was new, not necessarily with Simon Properties, but SouthPark, we were willing to take that temporary lease and say, ‘OK, 12 months, we’re gonna show you what we’ve got,’” Damien Johnson said.
The brothers said they were floored 10 days ago when Simon Properties terminated their lease at SouthPark, giving them 30 days to vacate. The mall has the right to terminate early under conditions of the lease.
The brothers’ story immediately went viral across social media and news outlets.
SouthPark’s management company sent the following release on Wednesday:
“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 four 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.”
The brothers said they didn’t understand why the temporary lease was initially terminated, and they have gotten nothing but compliments from mall management.
“We did a great presentation here with the aesthetics and with the team of barbers that we brought here,” Jermaine Johnson said. “All the professionals we brought here. We brought our best.”
The brothers said they invested between $60,000 and $70,000 for improvements for the business at the upscale mall.
Under the Improvements and Fixtures section, the lease says improvements, “shall become Landlord’s property on expiration or earlier termination of this Lease without compensation to Tenant, unless Landlord and Tenant agree otherwise in writing.”
Statement from mall management on Tuesday:
We have always had a positive working relationship with Mr. Damian Johnson and Mr. Jermaine Johnson. We currently have five No Grease barbershop locations with them at Concord Mills (2 locations), Charlotte Premium Outlets, Sugarloaf Mills and SouthPark Mall and are open to adding more locations in the future based on their interest.
With respect to their 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.
“We have a great relationship with Simon Properties,” Damien Johnson said Tuesday “So us taking a temporary lease, it wasn’t about the temporary lease, it was about the relationship. The respect and transparency we’ve had with them for the past 10 years.”
Cox Media Group