As the fourth generation to work at his family’s butcher shop at the Cross Street Market, Brett Nunnally knew the aging facility needed renovation. He never thought, though, that Nunnally Brothers would get priced out of the upgraded marketplace.
Offered a lease that raised his rent but decreased his square footage, and after being told the shop would have to close during some of the renovation, the 140-year-old business left in November.
And now, it has followed nine other merchants in suing the city, saying the $8 million project put them out of business.
“They destroyed a legacy,” Nunnally said. “A lot of good, hard-working people worked there.”
He now works at another family business, Package Deals Plus, on South Hanover Street, where he said he’s happy but it’s not quite the same. “I’m just an employee,” he said.
The market is slated to re-open in the spring, with a new slate of businesses and several of the former merchants. Others have relocated or, like Nunnally Brothers, closed up shop.
“All the good will and customer support built up over 140 years in business have been lost,” the lawsuit said.
“These are mom and pop businesses. There’s not a chain among them,” said John C. Murphy, the attorney who represents the merchants suing the city and the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation. “This is a city market, and all these merchants were thrown out.”