Pet store owner misses hearing on unpaid rent CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

April 06, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

The owner of the Feed Exchange, a Westminster pet store that closed permanently about two weeks ago, did not appear at an eviction hearing yesterday over more than $38,000 in unpaid rent.

Brad Eirman, owner of the former Feed Exchange in Cranberry Square, did not return a reporter's repeated phone calls to his office and two of his stores in Harford County.

Howard Cassin, attorney for Constellation Real Estate Inc. which owns Cranberry Square, requested a continuance at the hearing.

He said the two parties had reached an agreement, and Constellation was waiting for Mr. Eirman to sign it.

The case has been postponed until 9 a.m. Monday.

"We expected them to be here," Mr. Cassin told Carroll County District Judge Donald Smith yesterday. "I'd hate to proceed in their absence if there is a chance to contact them and still have an agreement."

An eviction notice, taped to the door of the 6,217-square-foot store, said the company owes Constellation $38,734.96, or four months rent.

The eviction notice was filed March 1 and served March 23.

Despite the posted notice and the court filing for eviction, Constellation spokesman Larry Lichtenauer would not confirm or deny that the pet store, which specialized in exotic fish and reptiles, had been evicted.

"Their sales were not significant enough to be profitable at that location," Mr. Lichtenauer said. "We came to a mutual agreement to terminate the lease."

The store, which opened in June 1991, was one of the first in the center.

Mr. Lichtenauer also said turnover is not unusual in a new shopping center.

"The first two years are always critical for a new store in a new center," he said. "There is a normal shakeout of merchants as we try to find the right mix."

Negotiations are beginning with several companies to fill the vacant space, Mr. Lichtenauer said. He would not specify who was interested in the space.

"We're always looking for backup tenants for spaces, even when we have tenants there," Mr. Lichtenauer said. "We're looking for stores that are new to the Westminster marketplace, that will fill a niche. All the stores that we put in there are along that philosophy."

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