OCEANSIDE -- The owner of a cherished donut shop is now fearing for the life of his business.
That's after he discovered what could be moving in next door - and the owners' deep roots in the community may not save him this time.
Bernard Simieng knows more than just how to make donuts. He also knows who he's selling them to – he greets his customers by name as they enter Chow’s Donuts on Oceanside Boulevard.
“I produce a good product,” Simieng said. “They've been in every single day, every single week, and every single month.”
Simieng does work seven days a week - with no employees - to put his kid through college.
But even his drive may not be enough to save his business from the giant that could appear steps from his door – Dunkin Donuts. The company is eyeing this strip mall as it continues its Southern California expansion.
“They don't have to open less than 20 feet away from me,” Simieng said.
Now, Simieng's customers are coming to his defense on social media.
“We see friends that live in our neighborhood. It just makes us feel warm and welcome,” said longtime customer Beth Barnard
Chris Park, the strip mall's owner, said Simieng is a good tenant, but he may not be able to pass up an opportunity for Dunkin Donuts.
After all, he says the often empty mall is barely able to pay its mortgage.
“We have a pretty much empty parking lot almost every day of the week,” Park said. “Financially, we are really burdened.”
Semiang says he's nervous.
“We don't know, I'm just panicked. I'm afraid,” Simieng said.
Because when it comes to his donut shop, it's rare for him not to know the whole story.
Simieng’s lease ends this summer.
He plans to meet with Park tomorrow.
In a statement to 10News Dunkin Donuts said it's exploring an Oceanside location with a local franchisee but couldn't confirm any plans.