Bonita pizza shop owners say they're being forced out because of proposed drive-thru Starbucks

The Stephans have operated shop for 22 years
Posted at 6:01 PM, May 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-28 22:11:41-04

BONITA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Raad and Nisreen Stephan have owned Giant Pizza King in Bonita for 22 years.

Nisreen Stephan said their store is their livelihood and only source of income.

"We are here seven days a week," Nisreen Stephan said. Their kids, now grown, also used to help out in the store.

They say they are being forced out because of a dispute with their landlord. A drive-thru Starbucks is planned to replace their store, according to the Stephans.

"It is very stressful. Imagine that you are here for 22 years... and all of a sudden, they want to kick you out of your place," Raad Stephan said.

He said the owners of the Bonnie Brae Center want them out to make room for the new Starbucks. The current Starbucks location is already in the same plaza at the corner of Central and Bonita Road.

"It is nonsense because Starbucks now, their location is the best in the shopping center," Raad Stephan said.

The dispute will now play out in court. In the unlawful detainer lawsuit filed by Alcott Estates, L.P., it states that the lease expired in June 2016. Raad Stephan said he signed a lease that gave him the option of a five-year extension and the shopping center owners are not honoring that. There is no set court date to the lawsuit, but some of the loyal customers have told the owners that when there is, they will show up to the hearing.

In the meantime, the couple is doing what they can to stay positive, thankful for their customers who have supported them throughout the years.

"We are a part of a family, a big family in Bonita. A family that likes to eat pizza, good pizza!" Raad Stephan said.

10News reached out to Starbucks and the attorney for the shopping center, but have not heard back due to the Memorial Day holiday.