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Rosa’s Taco Stand in Salmon Arm closes doors before contract ends, owner unhappy

Rosa Guthrie says city didn’t treat her fairly, city says it can’t comment on contractual issues
Rosa Guthrie of Rosa’s Taco Stand, pictured in this 2011 photo, closes doors on the Blackburn Park concession a final time. (File photo)

Rosa’s Taco Stand closed its doors at Blackburn Park for the final time in October, but owner Rosa Guthrie is experiencing more than just sadness over retirement.

Earlier this year, a social media post from Guthrie’s children expressed pride in their mother.

“Over the past 21 years she has run a successful sole proprietorship. Her vision of opening a Mexican Taco Stand all those many years ago was decided during a time in Salmon Arm when the idea of ethnic food was Friday night Chinese Smorg so it seemed a little lofty. Who knew that her food would become such a staple in so many people’s lives and households?”

“We are not totally sure what is planned for the future but as most know, Rosa is definitely not one to let a lot of moss gather as she likes to keep busy.”

In a post below the accolades, Guthrie wrote that it was not her choice to retire. She said the city gave her no choice; “for years they make it difficult…”

She also apologized to her customers and said she appreciated all the support over the years.

Read more: Blackburn Park may lose taco stand

Read more: Rosa’s Taco Stand to remain at Blackburn

In an interview with the Observer in early December 2021, Guthrie mentioned several complaints. She contended the city hired someone to go inside the portion of the building she was renting. She said she wasn’t given notice despite having been informed of such visits during the previous 16 years. She said she happened to drop by and see them.

They took photos of the inside of her business and city staff later showed the photos to her, saying the area was dirty. Guthrie said the quality of the photos was terrible and her place was not dirty.

There were also disputes about property tax, sewer and water fees, and then electricity, she said. She was told she had to pay property tax but she protested, stating she was not an owner and hadn’t had to before. The request was dropped, she said.

As for sewer and water, Guthrie said she hadn’t ever had to pay it but she did as it wasn’t costly. Regarding electricity, she said she had a letter from the city saying it wasn’t possible to separate the city’s portion from hers, so she didn’t have to pay it. It was a surprise when she received a bill for more than $1,200, she said.

Other things transpired, and she said the city later changed the locks without telling her and didn’t give her a key until she complained. She said she then changed the deadbolt she had been using. The issues of people entering the taco stand without letting her know, particularly during COVID, and the changing of the locks resulted in her losing her temper, she admitted.

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Guthrie said she received a letter from the city but didn’t open it as she wanted to speak in person. Shortly after she said she was getting ready to pay her October rent when she realized she had forgotten to pay September’s, something she hadn’t done before. She went to city hall and there she was given a letter stating she had to be out by Oct. 31, in 11 days. Guthrie said the reason was because she hadn’t paid for her electricity.

Asked to respond to the allegations, city staff said they weren’t able to because it was a contractual issue.

Wrote acting chief administrative officer Erin Jackson in an email: “Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars of this situation, but can say that the City has worked with Rosa for many years and did try to resolve the issues that led to her departure. She had been trying to sell the business for a number of years, so I do think she was hoping to retire and I understand a nice retirement celebration did occur, so that is really positive. The City wishes Rosa all the best in her future endeavours and has not yet determined how the concession will be utilized moving forward.”

Guthrie said she was hoping to work for one more year and maintained she was treated unfairly.

“Maybe they want more money, maybe they want a hot-dog stand. I don’t know.”

Read more: Owner of popular Salmon Arm taco stand must apply to reopen

Read more: Salmon Arm signs four-year contract with Rosa’s Taco Stand
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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