Gem Spa, a nearly century-old New York City corner store, is forced to permanently close. According to its owner, Parul Patel, they are forced to close due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
On “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday, Patel said, “it was heartbreaking.”
“We wish we could be there,” she said. “But the numbers just don’t make sense and it was just not a viable situation.”
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Pandemic Forces Iconic Store to Close
— Talia Kaplan (@TaliaKaplan) July 28, 2020
Gem Spa has become a fixture at St. Marks Place and Second Avenue since the 1920s, Fox Business reported. Patel added that “iconic figures that are part of our history” have had connections to the store.
“Madonna shot ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ at our store,” she shared. She also said, “The New York Dolls, which were the pioneers of punk rock, shot the back of their first cover in our store.”
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce Gem Spa has poured it’s [sic] last legendary egg cream and closed its doors forever,” the store said in a statement.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision, and one we are heartbroken to make. Forced to close the store due to New York City & State Covid [sic] restrictions implemented six weeks ago in the interest of safety to our customers and staff, we had hoped to reopen once things stabilized. Prior to the crisis, it had become increasingly apparent that the evolving character of the area was no longer able to sustain a corner creation like ours,” the statement added.
Gem Spa also lost their license to sell cigarettes and lottery tickets before the lockdowns.
Patel, the daughter of owner Ray Patel, who had been running the shop because her father “was in and out of hospitals,” said on “Fox & Friends” that “rent was accumulating” and “we had settled a lawsuit in January that basically allowed the landlord to evict us if we were late on rent twice.”