Jeffrey’s Meat Market in Dire Straits
Tough times continue for Jeffrey and his eponymous butcher business inside the Essex Street Market. At the end of last year, the Times reported on the financial state of the meat market, revealing that business was down but that the fourth-generation meat purveyor was adapting. Offering new classes, special “Dinner by Jeffrey” packaged meals, and soliciting orders from neighborhood eateries. But now the iconic Lower East Side character is staring down the barrel of new fees and rent hikes.
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[Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz]
The landlord of Essex Market is reportedly asking for an $8,000 renewal fee lumped onto a 29% increase in monthly rent. Dire straits, indeed. In the meantime, Jeffrey is on the precipice of a cookbook deal with Simon & Schuster, and the possibility of a reality television appearance looms.
His PR people sent along the following press release:
MANHATTAN, NY/LOWER EAST SIDE/February 23rd 2011—Jeffrey’s Meat Market has struggled through the recession to keep the doors open. Jeffrey’s even hosted a free “Recession Dinner” and fed over a 100 people. But with the landlord requesting an $8000.00 renewal fee on the first of March along with a rent increase of 29 percent and with Workmans Comp increased Insurance premiums, Jeffrey’s is running out of options.
Jeffrey has had to raise his prices a little bit but he’s reached the neighborhood limit. “Raising my prices anymore is like telling the community I can’t feed you anymore.”
Jeffrey’s could not have made it this far without the multi-generations of customers that have supported the store for over 75 years as well as the new influx of customers coming into the store to have a real butcher feed them.
Ramon Morales, master butcher, and employee for the family for over a quarter of a century says, “I am part of this family and it’s heritage, I feel this pain as much as they do. I may be looking for a job pretty quick if no resolution can be found. I’m scared.”
Although what Jeffrey’s need is an investor or someone to buy the store what he may really need in the future is a job.
Simon & Schuster has all but agreed to publish Jeffrey’s meat centric cook book, but with the condition of getting a reality TV show. Jeffrey’s is shooting a demo reel for the networks next week. But a reality show would still take months to come to fruition.
The common one liner that Jeffrey often quotes, “I’m a piece of antiquity kept alive,” may itself become a quote of antiquity.
[via Markets of NY]