Stewart's Liquor Closed. Multi-Use Building Planned.
Loyal customers on social media quickly got the word out of Stewart’s imminent closing.
A constant stream of long-time patrons and friends shared food, drinks, and favorite Mike stories on October 17th. Many remembered how comforting it was, in a city of strangers, to have Mike give them his warm greeting and chat with them as they shopped.
“On Monday, May 18th I was helping some of my regular customers when a 30-day notice to vacate arrived from my landlord.”
Mike was startled. His lease had been due to expire 5 months later, on October 31, 2015.The landlord/developers were planning to put up a 5-story 144 unit apartment building with retail stores on the ground floor.
“Here I am getting ready to start packing everything out, and I get yet another extension until the end of October. It was a very confusing period. It was like the title of that song, ‘Should I stay or should I go’.” Mike explained, his thick, dark eyebrows shooting upwards in disbelief.
“I have known and enjoyed so many of my loyal customers for over two decades. Ten or more of my regulars, older gentlemen, would come in to have coffee and chat in the morning for over 15 years. It was like an old-fashioned general store. I even celebrated holiday dinners with many of them. I’ll continue to do that.
On October 16th, Mike said five people from two construction and development companies walked into his store. There would be no more extensions.
Mike commented that they were taking away his retirement nest egg.
“That’s how the commercial rental property business is,” Mike said was their response.
As of this writing, the property owner’s representative stated, “The real estate parcel has been sold to another party and is in escrow.” Reportedly, the multi-use residential and commercial building plans are still in place.
Stewart’s Liquor had been around since 1948, when Carl Stewart started the retail store. After 15 years, Stewart sold his business to two families. They were there for 29 years. At the end of 1992 Mike bought Stewart’s and business blossomed. Mike, a Westchester resident, outlasted a corner Shell station, a nail salon, and Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery.
“I miss those pies,” Mike reminisced.
Mike promises to let us know when he finds a new location. We’ll be waiting.