Popular bagel shop to close; city finds squatters in attic

A Pierce County bagel shop will be forced to close its doors after inspectors found someone living in the attic.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. — A Pierce County bagel shop will be forced to close its doors after inspectors found someone living in the attic.

Bob Bringer has owned Cascade Bagel and Deli for 16 years.

"The product is everything, the employees are everything, and the customers are everything,” he said.

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Bringer said his bagels are special and his customers agree.

"The bagels are just so wonderful, and I think this gentleman just has such a big heart,” said Judith.

Bringer’s Lakewood business is the sole surviving shop at a boarded-up strip mall that sits at the corner of Bridgeport Way SW and Motor Avenue SW.

In September, an Oregon-based company bought the property. Bringer just found out he's being kicked out at the end of the month.

"The letter didn't say anything about any reasoning. It just said we were being evicted,” he said.

He believes it stems from the people found in the attic.

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The City of Lakewood said inspectors found three people and a pit bull above the bagel shop. City workers believe the squatters had been up there for a while judging by all the stuff they found.

"We had no idea that there was a whole home up there,” said Brenda Harding, a bagel shop employee.

The attic has since been red-tagged.

The city said the strip mall is a public safety risk.  Officials said they hope the new owner restores the building or tears it down and rebuilds.

For employees like Harding, the eviction is taking a toll.

"You've just put basically eight people out of business, out of a job, on unemployment,” she said. “I don't know what I'm going to do."

Bringer said it's time for him to slow down.

"I just might retire. I'm close to 75,” he said.

He wants to make sure his employees and his bagel recipe are left in good hands.

Cascade Bagels will close Sunday.

According to the owner of Tacoma Baking Company, they plan to buy the equipment and will offer all eight employees a job at their bakery.