OLIVE BRANCH, MS (abc24.com) - A Mid-South company is on the verge of eviction for problems owners blame on the landlord. Cates Family Meat Company has sold steaks and beef since the 1970s.
Owners say problems started four years ago when the shop moved from Memphis to Olive Branch. They've had nothing but trouble and now either have to move or close.
The Cates say they've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars cleaning up mold, slime and flies and are now out of cash and patience.
"We got a call from our lawyers two days ago saying we're about to be served with eviction notices," says TJ Cates. After 34 years in business, Cates can't believe his family's butcher shop could close because of problems with his landlord.
"We have dumpster issues. We have water issues," he tells abc24.com.
"There's black mold in the building. There's flies. There's green slime. There's filth," adds mom Ann Carolyn Cates. "Crye-Leike will not do anything."
The company moved to a spot off Goodman Road four years ago. "We've paid every rent on time for 3 1/2 years." TJ says the family's out of money. They've spent thousands on repairs and mold clean up, and are now fighting their landlord.
"We've been trying for two months to get Crye-Leike to get rid of mold, to reimburse us for things we've invested and problems that weren't ours in the first place and to just let us go back to being a butcher shop and reduce the lease. They're holding us to leases now and we can't afford it."
A Crye-Leike agent says the Cates are violating their lease. The real estate company refused to comment, saying it's an ongoing legal battle.
In the meantime, the Cates are left to find a new location or close.
"There are spaces everywhere, but it costs money. We've dumped all our money in this store so there's no money laying in the bank."
The case is set to go to court in November.