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Beloved NYC chocolate shop’s future at risk amid rent battle

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Growing up in Poland, Kamila Myzel’s mother and father all the time wished her to be a dentist.

But the New York City transplant — who arrived within the US in 1980 with political asylum amid martial regulation in her nation — had different plans. In 1990, she opened her personal chocolate store, Myzel’s Chocolate, on fifty fifth Street, and has been promoting home made and specialty candies ever since.

“This is sweeter. How does life get better than this?” the 65-year-old Myzel just lately advised The Post from behind the counter of her 470-square-foot confectionary. “I was living the American dream.”

But like so many small-business homeowners, the pandemic has threatened her livelihood. Due to sluggish gross sales, Myzel hasn’t paid her $7,800 month-to-month rent since April 2020 — the shop was shuttered for a complete of 5 months through the lockdown — and has been making an attempt to barter a brand new lease since that July, when her previous one expired. However, negotiations turned tumultuous and Myzel mentioned her landlord served her with eviction papers in late August, demanding $250,000 in again rent. The metropolis’s eviction moratorium has protected her up to now: It will stay in impact till January 2022.

Kamila Myzel, proprietor of Myzel’s Chocolate, laments the destiny of her beloved enterprise.
Stefano Giovannini

Myzel mentioned her landlord, Solil Management, is being unreasonable. “They broke me when they served me court papers,” she mentioned. “They doubled the rent,” she added tearfully of the preliminary $15,000 ask, noting that she’s one of many few companies on West fifty fifth Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues that has survived the COVID-19 disaster.

And it hasn’t been straightforward. Without the bustling enterprise in any other case introduced in by close by workplace employees, motels and foot site visitors, Myzel mentioned there have been days when receipts have been depressingly low. “For how many months, I made $40 a day, $50 a day. I can’t take it any longer. Is the greed and the money more important than the history of the city?”

Myzel’s lawyer, Joshua Wurtzel — whose agency, Schlam Stone & Dolan, is engaged on the case professional bono — advised The Post that whereas the owner has come down from their preliminary supply, the opponents have but to achieve an settlement. “At a certain point, she just doesn’t have money and can’t afford it,” mentioned Wurtzel. “If she doesn’t pay, they’ll be able to evict her.”

Myzel's Chocolate confectionary boasts some 150 varieties of European licorice.
Myzel’s Chocolate confectionary boasts some 150 types of European licorice.
Stefano Giovannini

A consultant from Solil Management advised The Post: “[We] have been negotiating with her and trying to come up with something fair. We have not received any rent since April 2020. I’m just surprised nothing gets paid for us, and she’s open for business,” mentioned the rep, including, “we’re still looking to make a deal if we can.”

Meanwhile. followers of the beloved chocolate store across the nook have stepped in to assist Myzel.

Councilman Keith Powers, who represents the shop’s district, together with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, wrote a letter to Solil Management on Oct. 4, asking the corporate “to negotiate, in good faith, a fair and equitable lease and stop the lawsuit against Kamila. This will allow her to continue to run one of the few immigrant, women-owned businesses in all of New York City and provide for her family.”

Instagram influencer Nicolas Heller, higher often known as New York Nico, can be using his platform to assist Myzel. “This place is f—king incredible and I want you all to experience it and support Kamila,” he wrote in a prolonged put up, garnering over 21,000 likes.

A GoFundMe page was set up to assist offset Myzel’s again rent, up to now elevating $7,000.

Customers are weighing in on the combat, too.

“I’m incensed,” mentioned Wendy Handler, who simply moved to New York and has shortly grow to be an everyday. “It’s like David and Goliath.”

Sweets shopper Betsy Polivy advised The Post: “We must help this lovely woman who came here from Poland speaking no English — She is beloved by so many. This is who New York is.”

Kamila Myzel, who moved to the US via political asylum from Poland, is fighting to keep her shop alive.
Kamila Myzel, who moved to the US by way of political asylum from Poland, is combating to maintain her store alive.
Stefano Giovannini

Myzel, who mentioned she is “humbled” by all of the assist, mentioned the store is who she is, too.

“You see someone walk in and they get this big smile on their face,” she mentioned of promoting treats to her clients. “They turn into children.”

Myzel’s Chocolate, 140 W. fifty fifth St; 212-245-4233, Myzels.com

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