Monday, February 26, 2024

Longtime East Village sewing business Gizmo needs a new home

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

Rosa Malmed and Hossein Amid were set to begin a new chapter for Gizmo by officially signing a new lease today for their longtime sewing supply shop. 

Instead, the heartbroken wife-and-husband owners are now forced to move their ample merchandise and supplies into storage as they continue a search for a storefront.
In recent months, the shopkeepers had been preparing to leave their home of 32 years at 160 First Ave. between Ninth Street and 10th Street at the end of this month. They were eyeing two East Village storefronts. 

They had all but inked the deal and received their keys at their new shop location at 319 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue when they were alerted by the agent that the building had been sold and no lease would be granted to them.
They had a written agreement, a three-month deposit, and a breakdown of costs (real estate taxes, water, rent, etc.) They were due to sign the new lease and pick up the keys today. 

"The East 14th Street location was smaller, but we thought it would be perfect for Gizmo's next step. We toured the location, spoke to the broker, submitted the pertinent paperwork, and were approved for a lease," Rosa said. "The lease was drafted and reviewed by both parties. We set a date for the lease signing, which would give us less than a week to vacate our current location and move in, a tight timeline but something we thought would work." 

The two will now move everything to a storage unit on Second Avenue and hunt for a suitable space to continue their business. 

Thursday is the last day here.
We previously reported that the rent at 160 First Ave. had increased to the point that Gizmo could no longer afford to stay here. 

Hossein also said it wasn't just rent; the landlord (Baumrind & Baumrind) wanted them out. They were not offered a new lease. 

In addition, after a recent leak, which caused damage to fabrics and sewing machines, they were not offered any assistance from the landlord.
When I asked Hossein what would become of the space after Gizmo leaves, he said, "I don't know, a smoke and vape shop?"

During our conversation, Rosa teared up several times about Gizmo, which they opened because she needed more room for her alterations business.
"For over 30 years, it has been an absolute joy operating our small business. This neighborhood welcomes Gizmo and our family with open arms," she said. "We have enjoyed every second of being part of the fabric of the Lower East Side. Above all, we want to thank the neighborhood and our patrons for an amazing tenure, and we hope to see you all again as we evolve to a new location."

While the merchandise will go into storage, Hossein plans to keep offering sewing machine repairs.

"Hossein has made house calls and will continue to do so," she said. "That will not change. Hossein will do his best to continue servicing the machines."
Rosa asked community members if they knew of any space in the neighborhood that might work for Gizmo, specifically: "A small storefront, with easy accessibility for differently-abled patrons. We would love to stay on the Lower East Side!" 

Contact info for them: (212) 477-2773 or email:

And here are some scenes from Gizmo during its closing days...   


Anonymous said...

Really sad. I hope they are able to find a new space.

Lola Sáenz said...

This is very sad! I stopped by to buy buttons, ribbon and they told me the bad news. I hope they find a place soon. Thanks for the update EV Grieve and Stacie Joy. I hope people stop by to support them, since Thursday is the last day.

Anonymous said...

Gizmo is an east village staple. The old east village is disappearing and makes me so sad. I went to gizmo almost exclusively when I was in fashion school at parsons

Anonymous said...

Hello, Gizmo please talk to the Cooper Square Land Trust. They have storefronts for rent and at discounted prices. Last I knew they were all on and around 4th Street but they may also know of others. Looking forward to you being in your new space soon. I have been a customer for decades and really appreciate your store.

Exterminator said...

Wow, this really sucks. All of the best
people and the best places have been
shut down by greedy landlords. This
has been going on for decades now in
our neighborhood. I remember it starting
with Manic Panic, then Orchidia Restaurant ,
then Teresa’s Restaurant twice, etc etc.
All of these greedy landlords need their
day of reckoning.

Anonymous said...

Lots of space below Delancey. Most of it close to the F train at E. Broadway. Also the B&D on Grand.

Anonymous said...

CM Carlina Rivera needs to do something. She has significant connections to REBNY.

Actual New Yorkers, small shops deserve help

Anonymous said...

Anyone have connections with SVA or FIT? Maybe those entities could help?

Anonymous said...

Ironically, as a child I named my seamstress grandmother Gismo as her sewing room provided much the same atmosphere and adventure into the land of sewing machines and notions. I've shopped there many times and will again as soon as they find a new home.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. It gives me hope for them. I've been so worried they wouldn't re-open.

Sarah said...

This is sad. I stopped by the previous weekend and they were tight-lipped but hinted they had something planned, just not confirmed yet. I was really hoping it would work out.

Anonymous said...

What about the former Blue Bottle location off of Clinton? There is space at the former art gallery on E 2nd and A. There’s so much available space in the neighborhood!

Edmund J Dunn said...

"When I asked Hossein what would become of the space after Gizmo leaves, he said, "I don't know, a smoke and vape shop?"

During our conversation, Rosa teared up several times about Gizmo, which they opened because she needed more room for her alterations business."|

As I and others have noted in the past, the failure to advance the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) to a vote in the City Council back in 2016 (see the provided AM NY link), this type of heartbreak in the EV will continue over and over again. And before the RE industry trolls swarm to post on this thread, the SBJSA was NOT commercial rent control, that was and is a REBNY talking point which of course is a lie.

bill said...

There is indeed a lot of empty space in the neighborhood, such as 93 1/2 E. 7th St. and 110 E. 7th St (both former bakeries). There was a Tibetan (?) clothing store as well as a tatoo shop on 2nd Avenue a couple blocks north of Houston St. Oh, I forgot the Cinnamon Girl shop on 2nd Ave.

Anonymous said...

Where is Carlina Rivera?
Why is she not speaking out?

BTW worth remembering that the City has done everything to help restaurants - free streets shacks, then making street dining "permanent" without resident weigh-in and the restaurant lobby gets to craft the rules (gee sounds like GOP approach) like GOP).
And there is already oversaturation of restaurants.

In the meantime small shops get ZERO help - and are overwhelmed by rent, ecommerce competition, shoplifting.


Anonymous said...

yes, there are a lot of available spaces, but they are probably empty because the landlord jacked up the rent. this is really upsetting. New York is getting worse every day.

Anonymous said...

I was there late this afternoon and the owners were busy packing things up. (There's a lot to pack!)

I hope & pray they will get an appropriate & affordable new space ASAP.

They now have Carlina Rivera's number, and also the phone number for the Cooper Square Land Trust. It would be nice if an elected official (or officials), and/or some other entity, would step forward and actually DO SOMETHING to help these owners find a new location.

I phoned Rivera's office: they had NO IDEA about any of what's going on with this shop; they didn't even know of the *existence* of this shop.

We're always hearing that we should "shop local" - but that's impossible when the shop you want to buy from has been driven out by impossible rent demands.

Shops like this give continuity & stability to our area. And small independent shops are what make this a neighborhood worth living in!

Is there even ONE decent landlord left in the East Village? If so, PLEASE contact the owners of Gizmo ASAP!

Anonymous said...

Greedy commercial landlords are destroying an chance of a retail resurrection on the LES. The city should fine them the amount of the rent they charge a client every month until the rent is lowered and the space rented.

Anonymous said...

this, but in some actually feasible way... nice

Anonymous said...

i wish they could have one of those storefronts on 10th st across from the bathhouse.
good luck to them.