Update: No Grease will remain at SouthPark Mall

Damian and Jermaine Johnson reach agreement to stay in SouthPark location for the remainder of their temporary lease.

Update (8 p.m.): The owners of No Grease barbershop and Simon Property Group have come to an agreement regarding the temporary tenant lease of Knights of the Razor at SouthPark Mall.

In a statement Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for Simon said the Johnson brothers will remain at the upscale mall for the duration of their temporary lease.

“We have delayed our other deal until next year and will be discussing with Mr. Damian Johnson and Mr. Jermaine Johnson the possibility of a permanent location for their barbershop beyond their current temporary lease term,” the statement read.

No Grease owners Jermaine (left) and Damian Johnson. Photo: QCity Metro

The community rallied around Damian and Jermaine Johnson after news spread that they’d have to vacate their Knights of the Razor barbershop in SouthPark Mall. 

According to Damian, mall management notified them last week that their year-long lease agreement was being terminated at the end of March. I spoke to the brothers in January, two days after they debuted their latest shop under the No Grease brand. 

Although their temporary lease included an option for SouthPark Mall to terminate the lease before year’s end, Damian said they thought there was a shot for getting a permanent lease considering how well they were doing after 45 days of business. 

“That shop was well on its way to being one of our top shops from a profit standpoint,” he told me on a call last week. “They had found a permanent tenant there, but they never even offered a permanent opportunity for us.”

In a statement Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for Simon Property Group, which owns SouthPark Mall, said they reached out to the brothers and “are currently in conversations to resolve the situation in a fair and equitable manner.”

No Grease has several locations on Simon properties, including two at Concord Mills and another in Sugarloaf Mills in Georgia. The property group says it’s open to adding more locations in the future “based on their [Damian and Jermaine’s] interest.”

Damian says the ordeal is a “teachable moment for anybody who’s in business.”

He says they’ll likely rebrand their location near the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte to transition into Knights of the Razor.

Katrina Louis
Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a news tip? Email her at katrinalouis@qcitymetro.com.

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This article has 2 comments.

  1. It’s sad to see these guys respond to the situation like this and an even greater disservice to the overall mainstream view of black-owned businesses. They should man up and take responsibility/accountability for the fact that they entered into a bad lease agreement. This isn’t racist or whatnot on the surface, they, admittedly, knew and understood the terms and still proceeded. Now, they’re butt-hurt because of all the big talk and show that they’ve done to friends and family and the greater community about how “they’ve arrived” all to be booted out of Southpark in a few months. Let’s face it, they’re embarrassed and their pride is hurt. All of this media coverage and the lack of focus on the true substance of the matter at hand is why corporate america never takes black folk seriously en masse. Again, maybe not the polite/considerate thing to do on Simon’s part BUT these dudes signed the lease agreement understanding the terms. Typical Al Sharpton/Jessie Jackson response. White folk get an attorney and settle this out of the public’s view but here, they want to imply racism to garner goodwill to ease to blow to their pride. Sad and juvenile.

  2. There may be matters unknown in this early termination, however, on its face it seems wrong and suspicious. I don’t understand that some decision maker at Simon did not know this situation was imminent. I too question why the temporary lease was not permanent initially or could not be changed now. These men spent 10s of thousands dollars upfitting the location and I wished they would have looked after their own interests more by accepting only a permanent lease and not compromising to get into Southpark Mall. What they have already accomplished is awesome which is the real star in their crown. I cannot find where I read that Simon keeps the fixtures in this business. Why? is the incoming tenant also a barbershop/hair salon? This situation just smells.

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