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Business in Pawhuska is booming, but some small businesses struggle to keep up

Pawhuska business closing

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Thousands have been flocking to Pawhuska since the Pioneer Woman opened her store and restaurant. Business is booming, but now some small, local shops are struggling to keep up. Rent is going up for many in Pawhuska.

"It is the end of an era," business owner Linda Bigeagle said.

This town is rich in history. Until recently, it was a very quiet place, but things are changing and fast, starting with the closing of a well-known business, Linda's Nearly New.

"Yeah it is sad," Bigeagle said. "It is my baby."

Bigeagle has leased the building for nine years, each month paying $260 in rent.

Last weekend she got a letter from the building owner.

It says, "I need to write up a lease and submit a bid to stay here, if not, I must be out by March 1," Bigeagle said.

The building's owner says he wants $800 a month for rent.

He believes it is a reasonable price for the square footage and the location, but Bigeagle says that's not feasible.

"In Pawhuska right now, you can't afford the rent that is required and you don't make that kind of money," Bigeagle said.

It is a trend you will see throughout the city.

"I have got to get it up to a functional business level for productivity as far as the units go," business owner Scott Trotter said.

Trotter just bought out Osage Square Rentals and plans on raising the rent for all of the businesses.

"A good chunk of this rent increase is to update the building, it needs new paint, things fixed," Trotter said.

Tenants didn't want to go on camera but told me they may not be able to make those payments.

Trotter says he is raising the rent in small increments to help, but also says this increase is for the good of the town and the tenants.

"Anything I can do to bring commerce back to this block," Trotter said.

Both building owners said they will work with the tenants to find the best solution.

No leases have been signed at this point.

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