COLFAX — The look and feel of downtown Colfax is slowly changing as a number of longtime businesses are closing their doors for good with many saying they’re being forced out by a new property owner.
“This place is going to get emptier and emptier,” said Mario Cerecdo.
Cerecdo says he’s devastated after the restaurant he owned for seven years had to shut down. When asked how hard it was to have to close, Cerecdo responded, “really hard, really hard. I still miss it.”
Cafe Luna was a popular stomping ground in downtown Colfax until Cerecdo says a new landlord purchased the space the business occupied and more than doubled the rent.
“He wanted us to pay more money and we couldn’t make it, because it’s Colfax. Colfax is good but it doesn’t have a lot of people,” Cerecdo explained.
Cafe Luna isn’t the only small business affected by the rising rent.
“You call it home. You’ve been here all your life. There’s so many memories,” said Tamara Firpo.
Several owners along the Colfax strip say they can no longer afford to stay.
The only business left is Doggie Depot, a family owned pet grooming store, but it is also preparing to close.
“It’s a huge loss because for almost everything, people have to go to Auburn or elsewhere. To have something local is so valuable,” Firpo stated.
On the other end of the row is Railhead Saloon, known as a staple in downtown.
“We were given notice after 37 years of absolute perfect paying rent,” said Sarah Murphy.
It’s been in this same spot for decades and now their landlord, a different property owner, wants to replace it with something new.
“It’s very sad, it’s very emotional. There’s six of us losing our employment over this,” Murphy said.
Railhead will be officially closing the saloon doors in less than a week.
Nothing was left in Cafe Luna but a sign on the door.
“All these guys worked their ass off just to get shut down. It’s really sad,” said Colfax resident Dereck Ackley.
As for the businesses left, it’s hard to imagine what the future of downtown Colfax will look like with so many changes and so much history lost.
Jake Karbowski, manager of Main Street Pizza says, “We’re going to be the only food on the strip for the next couple months, so it’s going to be intense.”
“It is hard, because Main Street will not be the same,” Murphy said.
FOX40 reached out to the new owner of many of the affected properties and are still waiting for comment. We’re told he is not from the area.