Local cupcake shop owner searching for new storefront

A local cupcake shop owner is looking for a new storefront after her landlord told her he wouldn't be renewing her lease.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Pink Cupcake  has been serving sweets since the beginning of 2019. Shop owner, Kelly Pickens, said she is at the store seven days a week.

Pickens grew up making desserts with her mother, which is what inspired her to open the store. She said the "pink" in the shop's name is a tribute to her late mother and sister. Both died from breast cancer.

However, Pickens said her bakery could soon be without a storefront.

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"We have 12 months still left," Pickens said.

She said her landlord called the Sunday before Thanksgiving and told her he would not be renewing her lease next year.

"He said I could break my lease if I wanted to," Pickens said. "No strings attached. I get my deposit back."

Pickens said she wanted to stay. She even offered to match the pay of the potential new tenant, but says she was told "no."

"It's a very uncomfortable feeling, because you feel like you put so much into something, so much hard work, sweat, determination, just to have it all taken away," Pickens said. "Just because someone else can pay more."

Action News Jax reporter Meghan Moriarty gave the landlord a call to hear his side of the story.

He said Pickens did not sign a renewal in her initial lease, and that it is common practice to let a tenant know ahead of time that a landlord may seek other tenants. He also said he is under no legal obligation to renew and added that they did not discuss rent.

Pickens, however, said, he [the landlord] went as far as to say, "You pay the least amount in the shopping center," which is what started the whole conversation.

Legally, the landlord is allowed to not renew.

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Pickens said she'll be searching for a new storefront. She said the community has been extremely supportive in helping her.

"I've had helpful hands come in and say "If you need this let us know," "If you need that let us know,'" Pickens said. "That just warms my heart."

In fact, while a crew from Action News Jax crew was filming Saturday, a man came into the store and offered Pickens a lease in his Riverside shopping Center.

"It just kind of restored hope within me," Pickens said.

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