040213 _ BIZ starbucks florist 2WILSHIRE BLVD — On a day in late February, Saeed Moayedi came to the front door of his flower business and saw the sign that would change his future.

Farrah’s Florist, an independently-owned shop that has been in Santa Monica for two generations, was being replaced by another Starbucks, the sign said. Moayedi was shocked.

“I was going crazy,” he said. “I was just driving, just thinking what to do, what I need to do.”

Moayedi said he was not informed by his landlords that his business would be forced to close. He was given three months to relocate, which he feels is not sufficient.

“It takes time to set up a new business wherever I go,” he said.

On March 18, the design of the new Starbucks was reviewed and eventually approved by the Architectural Review Board, said Laura Beck, City Hall’s liaison to the board.

In this 8.3-square-mile city, there are currently 13 Starbucks, according to a review of locations by the Daily Press.

“Everybody’s upset, everybody’s mad,” said Moayedi about what his family is going through. “It’s a mess. It’s not a comfortable situation.”

Moayedi has a wife and two children, aged 10 and 8.

Moayedi said he asked for a new lease last year, and remodeled his flower shop after getting reassurance from the owners that, because of his long tenure at the location he would not need to worry about the lease.

The property management company chose not to comment for this article.

Moayedi said he was not offered a new lease.

Other family-owned Santa Monica stores have fallen victim to bigger businesses because of expensive rents and a sputtering economy, making it difficult for them to weather the financial storm.

Renee’s Courtyard Cafe, located down the street from the flower shop, recently closed after decades of serving suds and will be replaced by Tinga, an upscale Mexican restaurant chain, in mid-April.

Rawvolution, a vegan restaurant on Main Street, is currently attempting to raise funds through an indiegogo.com fundraising campaign to save their business from closing. They have attempted two separate fundraisers, but have not been able to reach their monetary goal.

Phone calls to the owner of Rawvolution were not immediately returned Monday.

Walking by Farrah’s Florist, the shop has a sign of its own. It reads, “Say No to Starbucks. Come in to sign our petition.”

To sign the petition, go to Farrah’s Florist, located at 1032 Wilshire Blvd.

 

editor@smdp.com