BUSINESS

Capital Bagel Bakery to close in Alexandria

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - Some call it an Alexandria landmark. After all, it’s been around for 30 years – longer than some of its customers.

"I remember coming here when I was in elementary school," says devoted customer Carolina Land. "It's not like McDonald's and Subway...it's more like home-y and homemade food."

Land is now a senior at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria. Capital Bagel Bakery has been her go-to hangout spot since freshman year.

"It's a mom-and-pop place and we need more of those -- it's nice to have places like this for kids to go," says Alexandria resident Danita Sharp.

And also for adults, who can sit back and enjoy a bagel with their crossword puzzles.

But come Monday, the doors to Capital Bagel Bakery will close. With a year left on its lease, store owners say they were told they had to be out in 30 days. A spokesperson for Washington Real Estate Investment Trust – the company that manages Bradlee Shopping Center – says:

"For some time, this particular store struggled to meet its obligations as a tenant. Unfortunately, despite the sincere and best efforts of all involved, this is no longer possible for us as the owner of the center."

But not so, says manager Gonzalo Escamilla, who says the shop has paid its rent on time – and they can prove it.

"We are just asking for more time while we find another space to move," says Escamilla. "Why don't they let us stay if this store is busy? Customers love us in here."

"[We] fell in love with it once we came in," says one couple. "It has like a small-town feel. The bagels are so delicious."

It was one of the few places mom could eat without getting sick during her pregnancy:

"You feel like you know people even when you don't. There is hundreds, probably thousands of people coming in here -- sometimes we can't even eat here because the lines are so long. So it doesn't make sense at all, it's really upsetting."

So far, the bakery has collected more than 2,500 signatures on petition site, change.org. There is hope from both customers and workers as a protest is reportedly in the works for Saturday – a final attempt at convincing management to keep the store open.

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