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LIC Natural Food Store to Close, Landlord Wants to Hike the Rent

Natural Frontier Market at 12-01 Jackson Ave (Google Maps)

Nov. 27, 2019 By Allie Griffin

A beloved Long Island City natural food store is set to close next month after the business owner and the landlord could not agree to new lease terms.

Natural Frontier Market, which has provided neighborhood residents with healthy, natural, and locally sourced foods for a decade, will shutter its 12-01 Jackson Ave. doors sometime next month.

Its landlord, Hentze-Dor Real Estate Inc, wanted to double the rent and it was too much for the owner to afford, store employees said. The food store has been at the Jackson Avenue location for 10 years and the lease was in the process of being renewed.

While the online ordering system has already been taking down from the website, the exact closing date of the physical store has yet to be determined. The date is largely dependent on inventory levels, wellness manager Carmen Cairo said – though the store will likely close by mid-December.

“The date seems to be fluid. I think if most of the product moves out, they’ll close Dec. 21 or maybe earlier, who knows,” Cairo, who has worked at Natural Frontier Market for nine and a half years, said.

“Our customers are devastated,” Cairo said. “I’m sure there will be people coming in January, knocking on the doors saying what the heck happened.”

One customer told another employee that he was more heartbroken by the store closure than when his girlfriend broke up with him, cashier Arona Radia said.

“Everyone’s cursing the landlord. It’s really sad,” said Radia, who has worked at the store for three years. “Now we have to start looking for a job in the middle of the holidays.”

The Jackson Avenue store is one of three stores in the Natural Frontier Market chain. The company has one in Brooklyn and another in Astoria.

Hentze-Dor Real Estate didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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33 Comments

no name

a great store with great staff not only will i miss running in there like i did 3 to 4x a day, i will miss talking to Carmen and the staff. I am sure another ramen shop will pop up or a children’s playpen. that is all lic has become it is a disgrace i have lived here over 20 years and hate what it has become. it is as cold as the towering apartments going up and the disconnected tenants that live in them

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Benjamin

The rents are exorbitant sometimes even exceeding that in Manhattan. Pure greed. Also the fact that most units are owned by representatives of foreign investors.

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Harris Milstead

Lets see?? Ask our socialist politicians to ask they’re commissar Wilhelm stop raising the property taxes they have nearly doubled in the last five yrs.

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A billionaire real estate developer of luxury condos is president

But the reason billionaire real estate developers have it so easy is because of…socialism or something?

Does socialism usually advocate for big business? I’ll give a minute to think that over.

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Anonymous

Considering the disgustingly generous taxpayer subsidies and giveaways dished out to billionaire developers in this city, I’d say they certainly do love socialism.

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That's not socialism

Trump and others giving lots of money to the very rich isn’t socialism. You might want to look that one up lmao.

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Anonymous

What are you talking about? Rich people love socialism. For them, it’s multibillion-dollar, bailouts to banks, sweet tax treatment, zero lending rates, subsidies to their businesses, and on and on. Sure, I get why Republicans don’t want to talk about that, but socialism it is.

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MRLIC

I can’t believe a rich real 1% estate developer would do a bad thing. Trump promised me he was good.

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Common Sense

So why don’t you buy some property and rent it out at or below cost? What’s that you say, that wouldn’t make any sense. Oh okay you just want other people to do it.

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faithful customer

really? the landlord wants to double the rent… I hope it sits vacant for eternity…

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SuperWittySmitty

Common sense dictates that there is a fair and equitable way to own and rent a commercial property that is beneficial to all concerned.

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savenycjobs

The Councilman is Jimmy Van Bramer and Jimmy was a “proud sponsor” of the Jobs Act but did nothing for one year as the bill set in committee. Now what does Jimmy support, a substitute bill written by the real estate lobby that gives NO rights to store owners and keeps the status quo. Why would Jimmy flip and abandon his desperate store owners like Natural Frontier? Follow the money

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savenycjobs

This store as well as thousands more did not have to close if city council lawmakers would have made the changes to the Small Business Jobs Act as promised in Oct 2018 and voted into law. The Jobs Act has 29 sponsors and would have easily passed. The bill gives business owners 10 year leases and rights to equally negotiate new lease terms. If agreement cannot be reached then an arbitration process fair to both parties would decide the new rent. BLAME your council member for siding with the landlord and holding up a vote that would have saved him.

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young man!

If you are all in favor of limiting the amount an income a landlord can earn maybe the city council should also limit the amount of income you can earn.
Being a landlord is a business, a business that has large financial risks. This is one of the older “nice” LIC buildings and the owner took a risk building it way before LIC became hot. The landlord is now taking the risk that they can find a new tenant, who can pay current market rates quickly. People who risk their money on an investment should be able to make some money. Very likely that the apartments above the store are rent stabilized so there is very little opportunity to make any additional money to cover expenses there.
What really needs to be done is to overhaul the real estate tax system, it is not unusual for real estate taxes on commercial properties to double over 3-5 years and since the residential rents are limited by law, the commercial tenants have to pay that increase.

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savenycjobs

The Jobs Act does not limit the amount of rent a landlord charges. It stops rent gouging and allows the tenant who also invested in the property, rights to negotiate fair lease terms.
The law restores capitalism where hard work and well managed business should produce a profit not be kicked out. Think what you are saying, “people who risk their money on an investment should be able to make a profit”. Shouldn’t that apply to small business owners who risk not only their money but major time and sacrifices, only to be kicked out.

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young man!

Let’s be serious, it will control the amount of rent the landlord can charge.

We can all feel bad about the business owner but nobody is putting limits on what they can charge – I’m sure lots of people will say that Natural Frontier Market gouges on many items when you compare with what online retailers charge. And of course the business owner knew what it meant to have a lease rather than ownership in the property.
Depending on what the current rent is, doubling the rent probably isn’t fair but neither is the doubling of property taxes that the City of New York does regularly.

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Anonymous

The apartments are stabilized, however I think that some are now renting above what they should be renting at if you look at the listings so I wouldn’t say that the landlord is blameless.

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?

Rent stabilized? The building was put up in 2008, it was a one floor gas station/auto garage originally.

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Anonymous

That doesn’t mean it’s not stabilized. It falls under J-51 tax break stabilization until 2024.

Respect our president

So is our president, but you still sound like a socialist liberal snowflake hillary’s emails

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Grammar police

And you cannot form a sentence with proper punctuation and use of commas, so there’s that, too.

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Agreed, Trump is subhuman, greedy trash

Thanks for not challenging that. The part about commas was Savage though lmao.

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M. Blumbourg

NYC landlords are killing our city’s commercial fabric. Before long, there will be nothing left but big banks and chain pharmacies.

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Benjamin

Not sure about banks but the two large pharma stores (47 and 50th st) near the waterfront are closing.

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Anonymous

I hope the landlord’s new tenant turns out to be a disaster and the landlord has to pay to process sn eviction

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Anonymous

This stinks. The landlord has no soul or conscience. It’s better to have a tried a true tenant than an unknown.

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