|End of the Line|
Published: Friday, 02 November 2012 06:26
Dave Albers stands outside the garage that has housed his family’s business since 1923. He recently received an eviction notice from his landlord, Dr. Terry Pratt.
The garage doors at Alameda Wheel and Brake Service (AWBS), located at 2217 Central Ave., will soon shut down for the last time after serving the Alameda community for nearly 90 years.
Dave Albers, 61, has run the business since 1978, but will have to close up shop by the end of the year because the property owner is evicting him.
AWBS has been a fixture at the same Alameda address since Albers' grandfather on his mother's side opened up shop in 1923.
Prominient Alameda builder George Noble, for whom Noble Avenue is named, built the garage in 1916 for Carl Zeh.
The business, which is run out of the driveway of a dentistry, has been in Albers' family since 1923. Albers' father, Jack, took over the business from his father-in-law in the mid-40s after World War II.
"I went to school at Alameda High," said Albers. "After school I would go across the street and work at the shop. After high school, I took a two-year automotive course at Alameda College. I started working for my dad full time after completing the course."
Jack handed over the reins to his son in 1978.
Dr. Terry Pratt, an Alameda oral surgeon, bought the larger property a year after Albers took control to start his business Alameda Oral Surgery.
"I told him 'if you raise my rent, I'm leaving,'" said Albers.
After leasing the property to Albers at a discounted rate for more than 30 years, Pratt said he could no longer lease the property to Albers.
"I've been leasing the property to them at less than a third of the rental market value," said Pratt, who said he received the estimate from a Realtor. "They've been renting 2,500 square feet of space for $875 a month. I told his wife, Tina, 'there's a ton of vacant spots in the city,' but she said other places wanted too much money. And I told her that's exactly why I couldn't rent to you any more."
Pratt said he did not offer the space at a higher fee because he knew they could not afford it. Pratt gave Albers the eviction notice letter on Oct. 11, giving him 75 days to leave the premises.
Tina believes the eviction is because her relationship wih Pratt soured recently. Tina said she worked as Pratt's office manager for 11 years and their relationship worsened due to a conflict between her and Pratt's current wife.
Pratt said Terry was never an office manager, but worked for him as an outside contractor.
"I called him after we received the notice and asked him, 'why are you doing this?' This has been my husband's life," said Tina. "He said he needed the space for personal reasons."
Pratt said using the garage for storage space would save him lots of money he is already spending to store items elsewhere.
"I do feel bad," said Pratt. "We had a great friendship. I thought long about doing this, but I don't want this to be a financial strain anymore."
Albers and his wife are now dealing with the aftermath of the eviction. They had to sell their home, where they live close to Tina's parents, and have had to close down the shop his grandfather started 89 years ago. But Albers is not distraught about the closing.
"Everything comes to an end," said Albers. "The future is looking bright."