Rising up in Poland, Kamila Myzel’s dad and mom all the time wished her to be a dentist.
However the New York Metropolis transplant — who arrived within the US in 1980 with political asylum amid martial legislation in her nation — had different plans. In 1990, she opened her personal chocolate store, Myzel’s Chocolate, on fifty fifth Road, and has been promoting home made and specialty candies ever since.
“That is sweeter. How does life get higher than this?” the 65-year-old Myzel just lately advised The Put up from behind the counter of her 470-square-foot confectionary. “I used to be residing the American dream.”
However like so many small-business homeowners, the pandemic has threatened her livelihood. Attributable to sluggish gross sales, Myzel hasn’t paid her $7,800 month-to-month lease since April 2020 — the shop was shuttered for a complete of 5 months in the course of the lockdown — and has been making an attempt to barter a brand new lease since that July, when her previous one expired. Nevertheless, negotiations turned tumultuous and Myzel mentioned her landlord served her with eviction papers in late August, demanding $250,000 in again lease. The town’s eviction moratorium has protected her thus far: It can stay in impact till January 2022.
Myzel mentioned her landlord, Solil Administration, is being unreasonable. “They broke me once they served me court docket papers,” she mentioned. “They doubled the lease,” she added tearfully of the preliminary $15,000 ask, noting that she’s one of many few companies on West fifty fifth Road between Fifth and Sixth avenues that has survived the COVID-19 disaster.
And it hasn’t been straightforward. With out the bustling enterprise in any other case introduced in by close by workplace staff, inns and foot visitors, Myzel mentioned there have been days when receipts had been depressingly low. “For what number of months, I made $40 a day, $50 a day. I can’t take it any longer. Is the greed and the cash extra necessary than the historical past of the town?”
Myzel’s lawyer, Joshua Wurtzel — whose agency, Schlam Stone & Dolan, is engaged on the case professional bono — advised The Put up that whereas the owner has come down from their preliminary provide, the combatants have but to achieve an settlement. “At a sure level, she simply doesn’t have cash and may’t afford it,” mentioned Wurtzel. “If she doesn’t pay, they’ll be capable of evict her.”
A consultant from Solil Administration advised The Put up: “[We] have been negotiating together with her and making an attempt to provide you with one thing truthful. We’ve not obtained any lease since April 2020. I’m simply stunned nothing will get paid for us, and he or she’s open for enterprise,” mentioned the rep, including, “we’re nonetheless seeking to make a deal if we are able to.”
In the meantime. 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 Administration on Oct. 4, asking the corporate “to barter, in good religion, a good and equitable lease and cease the lawsuit in opposition to Kamila. This may permit her to proceed to run one of many few immigrant, women-owned companies in all of New York Metropolis and supply for her household.”
Instagram influencer Nicolas Heller, higher often known as New York Nico, can be utilizing his platform to assist Myzel. “This place is f—king unimaginable and I need you all to expertise it and assist Kamila,” he wrote in a prolonged put up, garnering over 21,000 likes.
A GoFundMe web page was arrange to assist offset Myzel’s again lease, thus far elevating $7,000.
Prospects are weighing in on the struggle, too.
“I’m incensed,” mentioned Wendy Handler, who simply moved to New York and has shortly develop into an everyday. “It’s like David and Goliath.”
Sweets shopper Betsy Polivy advised The Put up: “We should assist this pretty lady who got here right here from Poland talking no English — She is beloved by so many. That is who New York is.”
Myzel, who mentioned she is “humbled” by all of the assist, mentioned the store is who she is, too.
“You see somebody stroll in and so they get this huge smile on their face,” she mentioned of promoting treats to her clients. “They flip into kids.”
Myzel’s Chocolate, 140 W. fifty fifth St; 212-245-4233, Myzels.com