Oakland store in danger of closing, cites protests as cause

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The Hat Guys store is facing eviction in Oakland and owners say changing fashion trends and heavy protests in the area have forced shoppers away. (KGO-TV)

The City of Oakland seems to be enjoying a renaissance, but one long-time business is in danger of closing and the owner says years of downtown demonstrations have put the nail in the coffin.

RELATED: 'People are angry,' protesters flood streets of Oakland

Ken Oranje's dad started the business in 1988, but it looks like it might be going under. The hat guys just received an eviction notice because they're several months behind on the rent. Oranje tells us the long slide into financial problems has been partly due to years of protests from the Occupy movement to the recent women's march.

"I totally agree with the protesting, but they don't realize what they've been doing to these little businesses down here whenever they do it," said Oranje. "Because they block the street and everything."

He says changing trends are also to blame. There are thousands of hats on the shelves but the younger generation isn't buying the quantity or the quality like the older guys do.

"I've been looking at different spots and this one seems to have a little more of what I like" said customer Leon Dockery.

The Hat Guys is having a sale, hoping to make enough money to avoid eviction.

"I would certainly like to see that small businesses can survive," said another customer Dennis Perocier. "This is one of the few that caters to fashion."

The owner says he has not reached out to city hall. We called the mayor's office, which is going to look into the situation. Customers hope that'll help.

Related Topics:
store closingsmall businessprotestfashionevictionOakland
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