undefinedKelly Wang’s new store almost didn’t survive the pandemic. Five weeks after opening Rue Saint Paul, her Brooklyn sustainable-fashion and beauty boutique, the lockdown forced her to close for three months. Because the store was new, it didn’t qualify for a federal PPP loan. “I was just panicking. It was my first commercial lease and I was nervous and timid about my options,” she says.
Thank goodness her landlord—a retired woman who lives upstairs—said she didn’t have to pay rent until the spring lockdown ended. In July, when Ms. Wang asked about the back rent, the landlord said she’d only have to pay half, spread over the remainder of the lease.
“We wanted to make sure Kelly had the opportunity to be successful in the space,” says Salvatore Licata, the landlord’s son. “And in turn, my mom hopefully would have a long-term tenant that she would benefit from as well.”
Ms. Wang, meanwhile, decided against requesting additional discounts. Sales are strong and she’s able to pay the full $3,800 monthly rent on the 550-square-foot space, she says.
For those of us concerned about our city’s mom-and-pop shops and retail strips, it’s heartening to hear about landlords and small-business tenants working in good faith to ensure each other’s survival. And it’s not as rare you might think.