The Duke Corner Store in downtown Kitchener has been an important neighbourhood resource for years and is now under pressure from the building’s landlord and other forces to close.
In October 2019, the building’s landlord tried to evict the store and its owner Nadine Green. While this first effort to evict Nadine was challenged and defeated, the landlord has since launched renewed efforts to push the Duke Corner Store out of an an increasingly gentrifying downtown area.
This episode features an interview with Kitchener based human rights activist Julian Ichim, who has been working with Nadine as she pushes back against eviction, police harassment, and racist institutions.
In the interview Julian speaks about apparent pressure from the Kitchener downtown business association and a new “ramen noodles” restaurant which is set to open in the condo building across Water St from Nadine’s store, along with information from legal documents served to Nadine from her landlord noting specifically Nadine’s “clients”. Julian also discusses undercover police actions against Nadine, and historic targeting of Jamaican owned stores and neighbourhoods in Kitchener.
A unique feature of Nadine’s store is that not all her customers have money to buy the items she sells, or homes to return to with their goods. For these clients, Nadine keeps a tab for items purchased, and always has an open door and a few extra chairs around. She also offers employment to some folks and always a warm smile. Because of the welcoming nature of The Duke Corner Store, it is constantly lively, with folks chatting away and hanging out.
However, in a city trying to hide away or paint over massive economic inequalities and a housing crisis, with bright colours and gentrifiers’ cash, Nadine’s welcoming and non-discriminatory nature means her store is a target.
Finally, Julian also speaks about odd legal proceedings against Nadine, especially where a Judge agreed with Nadine’s lawyer to delay the case over until the afternoon, then after the lawyer left the room, continuing on with the proceedings, and putting forward eviction documents. While Nadine is now appealing that decision, Julian brings up the idea of the historic Dred Scott decision from the US where “there are no rights a black (wo)man has that a white man (judge) has to respect.”.
Many in KW have reached out to help Nadine’s store continue operating and on the callout for a recent phone and email jam, The Alan Ryan People’s Community Defense Brigade states: “Nadine is an ally to street and homeless people and she provides essential services to them, sometimes even opening her store up to let people stay out of the cold in the dead of night.”
The show closes with a brand new tune called Boot Boys from KW local punks Back Breaker
To Support Nadine’s court costs, contact Udanapher@gmail.com