VILLAGE OF HARTLAND - A natural herbs and remedies company in Hartland is being evicted after 22 years.
McGillick's Herbs, 418 Merton Ave., was notified March 21 that it had 28 days to move out of the property it has called home for more than two decades.
Owner Rose McGillick and her daughter, Michelle Merschdorf, said they were not given a reason for the eviction. They said their landlord, Brian Cass, who is the owner of the dry cleaner Martinizing in the same shopping plaza, has not responded to questions about the decision.
Their last day of business will be Saturday.
"We have had an honest business," McGillick said. "Rent has always been paid on time. (My daughter's husband) has been a maintenance man, so we take care of everything. When I wanted to go out, I wanted to go out on my terms. We're shocked."
McGillick's husband, Terrence, opened McGillick's Herbs in 2000. Rose took over after his death. She said that in her 15 years at the helm, she has had four landlords at the shopping mall but has had complications with the most recent landlord.
McGillick said Cass had mentioned the potential for signing a long-term lease multiple times.
"I've told Brian, I could leave here tomorrow, but I love what I do, I believe in what I do and the good Lord gave me good health to do it," McGillick said.
In February, Cass told McGillick he had a potential tenant for her space. The prospective tenant toured the space days later.
Between then and the eviction notice on March 21, McGillick said she was discussing signing a new, five-year lease with Cass and real estate broker Garrett Warner. McGillick's Herbs had for years been on a month-to-month lease. Cass even sent an email on March 9 stating that he would raise rent by $92 starting in April.
Then, on March 21, McGillick was informed by email that she was instead being evicted effective April 18. No reason for the sudden eviction was given.
"(Cass) has not shown up," she said. "He will not address it. We have never had a landlord like that."
According to McGillick, Cass still billed her for the entire April rent at the increased rate.
Numerous messages left for Cass seeking an interview have not been returned.
"Brian had the nerve to bill us for the full month when we needed to be out on the 18th," McGillick said. "I wrote the check and said that I think that's the wrong amount, and I prorated it. I stated at the bottom, 'Now you know how to do it.'"
McGillick's Herbs posted on Facebook about the notice on March 24. An outpouring of support has come since then. Customers have offered to help try to find a way to keep the shop there through legal action, find a new space, and have also come in to show their support, buying as much as $400 worth of product in a single purchase.
"People are angry; they're angry," McGillick said. "Someone with a lawyer asked if I wanted to stay here, and I said it’s a toxic environment. It’s not healthy. I have to get out. When you don’t know from day to day if you’re going to be here, it’s not healthy.”
Though she has worked to move most of her product off the shelves in preparation for the last day, McGillick plans to take whatever is left and store it in case she can open elsewhere in the area.
"I’ve kept everything open with our vendors," McGillick said. "They’re willing to do that. Then, I will have time to go, personally, to different spots and seek out a new place. If there isn’t a place I can go or if there is nothing suitable, then I’ll have to make that decision. Right now, I’m not closing my doors."
Her last day of business will be April 16. She'll spend the next two days moving her things out.
"I wouldn't trade the last 15 years for anything," McGillick said. "We’re going to move on, and hopefully I’ll get an answer on where I'm supposed to land."
Drew Dawson can be reached at email@example.com or (262) 289-1324.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: McGillick's Herbs faces sudden eviction from Hartland store