CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Inside Boris & Natasha, unique clothing and jewelry line walls and counters.

“It’s a boutique, so it’s the things that I love curated by me,” owner Hope Nicholls said

While she has been open since 1999, this spot located in a small shopping center is relatively new.

“Yes, it was super stressful to move my business, especially during COVID,” Nicholls said.

For two decades, the boutique was in the heart of Plaza Midwood before the building she was renting out of was sold and turned into a brewery.

Like several other small businesses in the neighborhood, the new development and rent increase forced her to move.

“So, places like Book Buyers, I mean Stash Pad, I can’t even think of all the businesses,” Nicholls said.  “All gone.”

The latest small business impacted by a buy-out was Soul Gastrolounge. Owners say in the spring they were notified that their building on Central Avenue was being sold. Last month, they were given an option to stay but with a 114% rent increase.

“This is like the wild west of business,” Jamie Starks said. “We are seeing people coming in with a lot of money basically ruining what we’ve built up here.”

Starks said he is not surprised Soul is relocating. To keep Tommy’s Pub alive in 2016, he had to do the same thing.

“I don’t know how many times I looked out that bar, out at the window,” Starks said while looking at pictures laminated onto his bar top that show the pub’s original location.

It was a small brick building built in the 1930’s on Central Avenue. Now, it’s an apartment complex.  

“And it’s like we are going to tear everything that is sitting there right now down and let’s just install this Lego set, and it’s like the same Lego set built over and over again,” Starks said.

“Basically, in neighborhoods that are so rapidly gentrifying like Plaza Midwood, if you don’t own your own building, you are probably going to be out and that’s what’s happened with Soul and Sister,” Nicholls said.

The owners of Soul also own Sister and a neighboring tattoo shop on Central Avenue.

Sister is closing at the end of July. Soul is closing August 14 and will be relocating. Queen City News reached out to the restaurant’s spokesperson, who said it was too early to comment on where.