[Photo of Niall Grant from 2016 by James Maher]
Niall Grant, the owner of Tuck Shop on First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, told me last evening that he is closing the business here at the end of service next Tuesday, Sept. 25 after 13 years selling Australian meat and vegetable pies on the block.
The other two Tuck Shop locations, in Chelsea Market and Urbanspace, will shut down by the end of the month.
Here's part of an email that Grant shared:
All the usual reasons can be cited but rising costs in general are behind this difficult decision. After 13 years in business I am tired of the struggle to keep a small business afloat in NYC.
My chief concern is finding jobs for my excellent kitchen team who have been with me for many many years including our head chef Pedro who has been with Tuck Shop since the very start, sous chef Juan (9 years) and prep cook Andras (7 years). They're a wonderful team so if anybody out there has a job for any of them please email email@example.com.
I'd also like to thank all the folks who have worked for Tuck Shop over the years. I've made some lifelong friends and had lots of laughs with the staff. I wish you all well in your endeavors.
Finally I'd like to thank all the customers and regulars who supported Tuck Shop since 2005. I really appreciate what you've all done for me and my staff. You've allowed us to prosper, fed our families and paid our rents. We really appreciate it. Please come by the stores and say goodbye as we will miss you all greatly.
Niall and the whole Tuck Shop family!
Here's part of our Out and About feature with Grant from February 2016:
I love this street. After 11 years here, I know everybody’s face. There are still a lot of the same old faces. All these guys hang out in front of the place. Some have been here for maybe 30 years. You see people grow up. It’s great to be part of a community like that. It’s nice seeing the whole family grow up upstairs.
Depressing. I've been a regular customer for around 9-10 years.
i did the same (uncanny because of the similar time frame 1977-1989)---BAGEL NOSH 377 5th avenue---having said that---i was tired of fighting EVERYONE :(---the restaurant business is normally entered into as a labor of love--- that quickly transcends into survival--- then EVERYONE becomes your foe---why is your price of wine so high/why is your chicken stored in that bin/why are your doors opening inwardly/why is your garbage being placed on the sidewalk before 5:00pm.....I UNDERSTAND :)---GOOD LUCK NIALL---GREAT RUN!!
I would stop in here when I found myself nearby which was not often enough, and have a relaxing good lunch from a bunch of friendly people. I am very sorry to see them close and wish them all the best going forward.
We are now in another era where longtime business are closing left and right and new upstarts often don't survive their first year. The concept of having a favorite go to spot for lunch or dinner is no longer possible.
Where is Carlina Rivera when the small businesses such as TuckShop need assistance with their issues? The following verbiage is listed on her website : http://carlinarivera.nyc/issues/jobs-economic-development/
Small Business Jobs Survival Act – Carlina supports legislation to put power back into the hands of small business owners when they go to the negotiating table with their landlord. She helped issue a Small Business Guide to Lease Negotiations to provide a resource to local operators.
Anon 8:40 you are absolutely right. Where is Carlina on saving sm biz? Yes she attached her name to SBJSA but then told The Villager she wants to "pass a 21st Century" version of the SBJSA.(FLAG) She also told The Villager if elected she would address the epidemic of extortion (cash upfront as a condition for a lease renewal) an atrocity plaguing our immigrant biz owners (this has been going on for decades) she would delegate to the Dept of Small Biz Services. Of course SBS testified in 2009 against the SBJSA and said they didn't acknowledge extortion as an issue nor would that fall under their purview. Be prepared for her to support a watered down version of the SBJSA that won't save a single small biz. We can then add that to the laundry list of Carlina sellouts beginning with the 14th St Tech Hub where she lied through her teeth of the campaign trail, and when she sells out Merchant House Museum at City Hall tomorrow morning.
It's not just the landlords. The unrelenting regulations placed upon small business owners in this city is what is crippling. At some point you just cut your losses and throw in the towel. The margins are so small in the industry that it's becomes not worth the hassle.
Thank you Niall and Pedro, for all the great pies and sides and great welcoming chill atmosphere. Gonna miss the traditional beef, steak and guinness, chicken and leek, pulled pork and breakfast pies. Real good food made with skill and care. Oh and where am I going to get lamingtons now? Fuck
I loved this place....of course I can't say i've ever had a pie sober...it was my go to spot for a beer and a pie after all the bars closed in my younger years! Good luck. You will be missed.
Oh noooo! terrible news. Tuck Shop pies are amazing, and the kale dish with the lemony dressing is so addicting. please let us know where Niall goes from here. he should totally do a cookbook.
Although I understand the reasons for it, those small pies were always too expensive for me.
This sucks. However, I am not surprised. Operating a business here in the city is no joke. Unless you are independently wealthy, I am not sure how others can sustain themselves after paying exorbitant rent, maintenance, wages, insurance, product costs, and so forth. Forget about making an actual profit, which is the key intention to opening a business. In this financial and social climate, I don't think running a small business in NYC, let alone anywhere else is worth it unless you have capital gain and support during the uncertain periods. This will be a loss for our community. Sadly, this is also an echo for other beloved businesses to come.
Will miss you guys :( Thank you for everything!!!!
dubpies.com have them at their cafe and for catering
Rent is only one part of it. Increased minimum wages, paid family leave, increases in workers comp and unempmoyment insurance, utilities, - it never ends. Congestion pricing will lead to higher delivery costs. Everyone loves all these great ideas but they are killing small businesses. A commenter above referred to the social climate. They are 100% correct. The city gets $28 billion- 31% of revenues- from property taxes. They go up and up and so do commercial rents. Im sure the 'Progressive' Dems who seek total control in Albamy will be business friendly. SMH.
Thank you for the years of delicious food, you will be sorely missed. Also, keep the stock up until the end as I will definitely be loading up until the last minute!
@Anon 1:16 PM - Lol, small businesses don't have to participate in family leave and if you can't pay your employees a minimum wage you have no business having them work for you.
As to the property tax issue, it's true that owners of commercial properties shoulder an unfair portion of the RE taxes. Owners of single family homes need their taxes raised but that will probably never happen.
Harlem Coffee Company (Lenox and 117th) also has lamingtons, and they're quite good.
@3:23pm: You say "As to the property tax issue, it's true that owners of commercial properties shoulder an unfair portion of the RE taxes."
Evidently you know nothing about the pass-through clauses that make the RETAIL business owners pay the tax increases. The commercial property owners download as much of their "tax burden" as they can onto their retail tenants. Just ask a commercial broker about that - including the "tax escalator" clause that is in most retail leases.
Mr Grant. I am sorry that you have to close. And yes, it has become insanely difficult to survive in NYC. So many battles on so many fronts. My advice to anyone running or thinking about running a small biz in the EV today is this: Figure out how to save money in anyway you can. Don't be afraid to be cash only. You'll save $40,000 per every 1 million in sales. Thats a few months rent. Remember, you got into this business to make a living not to help further line the pockets of the Square, Chase, Amex, and Visa. Secondly, do not fall for the 'Branding Scam.' No need to pay 5 to 10 times more to have a paper bag or a coffee cup with your name plastered all over it because some joker told you you need to push your brand. A plain cup will do just fine and that paper bag is just going to end up in the trash. Don't engage with fools who try to convince you that you need to do PR or pay them to promote you on social media sites. Be in your store. Do a good job. The promo will come on its own. THINK SMALL. Be in your shop daily. Be on top of waste. Figure out ways to save every cent you can. Operate old school. People may make snide comments about why you don't take cards or why you have staff hand out napkins to guests instead of leaving dispensers out on tables so guests can grab 40 napkins when they only need 2. Don't pay attention. Or better yet, tell them to walk down 2nd Avenue from Houston to 14th street and count the vacant store fronts.. Think small . Be in your store. Cut costs wherever you can. This is how you survive.
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