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Lease flap: Owners aren’t ‘bad guys’

By Deangelo McDaniel
DAILY Staff Writer · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The daughter of the owner of a building where a popular Mexican restaurant is located says she is "sick and tired" of people making her family out to be the "bad guys."

Jessie Woodward said people have been calling her business, "making my family out to be bad," since Friday.

"We're just not renewing their lease," Woodward said about the owners of Las Vias Mexican Grill.

Her father, Ronnie Woodward, owns the building near Main and Railroad streets where the Mexican restaurant has been operating for almost a year.

Polka Dots, an interior and gift shop four doors down that Woodward owns, is moving into the building before February 2007.

She said it is true that her family told the restaurant owners by letter that their lease would not be renewed when it ends in December.

"But, we had several sit-down meetings with them and told them in person," Woodward said.

Two of the restaurant owners left telephone messages at THE DAILY on Friday. But for two days this week, they could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the restaurant owners have assured him that they plan to stay in Hartselle.

The mayor couldn't name the person, but he said someone has offered to construct and lease a building to the restaurant.

Woodward said she started receiving telephone calls after a Sept. 22 story in THE DAILY.

"They are not getting pushed out," she said.

Woodward said her lease in the building she occupies ended in September. She said she had the option to purchase the building, but felt that the asking price was too high.

"It's easier for me to move instead of my family owning two buildings on the same block," Woodward said.

Tankersley said the restaurant owners were already renovating a building across the street for a New York Italian sub shop. He said they may move the Mexican restaurant into the building temporarily.

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