Longtime Dry Cleaner Booted So Starbucks Can Move In

By Sybile Penhirin on July 25, 2014 7:39am | Updated on July 25, 2014 1:24pm

 Suikown Cho, owner of Piermont Cleaners. After almost three decades operating at 80th Street and Second Avenue, Piermont Cleaners is moving out at the end of July 2014.
Suikown Cho, owner of Piermont Cleaners. After almost three decades operating at 80th Street and Second Avenue, Piermont Cleaners is moving out at the end of July 2014.
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DNAinfo/Sybile Penhirin

UPPER EAST SIDE — A dry cleaner that has anchored the corner of 80th Street and Second Avenue for almost 30 years is being forced out to make way for a Starbucks.

Piermont Cleaners, at 245 E. 80th St., will shut down at the end of the month, and a Starbucks will open in the space in the fall, according to city records, Piermont owner Suikown Cho and a Starbucks spokeswoman.

“The landlord wouldn’t renew or negotiate the lease. They just said we had to move out — that's it," said Cho, a South Korea native who started the family business with her husband in the 1980s. She learned in April that she would have to move out, she said.

The existing Starbucks one block away at East 81st Street and Second Avenue will close and move to East 80th Street and Second Avenue in the fall, the Starbucks spokeswoman said.

The Department of Buildings approved a construction permit last week for Piermont's storefront that states it's being renovated "to be occupied by Starbuck Coffee Shop," public documents show.

"Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers, and we are happy to confirm [the move]," the spokeswoman said in an email.

The owner of the building, 245 East 80th Street LLC, did not respond to requests for comment.

Cho was sad to lose her lease at the cleaner's longtime home — but one of her clients, who works in real estate, helped her find a new spot right across the street.

“I feel very lucky,” Cho said about securing the new space for Piermont in the two-story 1548 Second Ave. "We need to stay here — all of our clients are here.” 

Piermont will move into its new home in early August. Cho said the rent for the new place is only a little higher than at Piermont's current home.

“I cannot compete with big companies when it comes to paying an expensive rent,” she said.

Jeffery Cho, manager of Piermont Cleaners and Suikown Cho’s nephew, attributed the recent changes in the neighborhood, including other displaced businesses, to the construction of the Second Avenue subway.

“Everyone is moving out and it’s going to be chaos," he said.

Loyal customers of Piermont Cleaners said they were grateful the business is staying in the neighborhood.

“It’s becoming a big, cold city," Glen Yeaker, 47, an Upper East Side resident who has been a Piermont customer for the past 15 years, said as he picked up laundry from the store this week. "It’s nice to have small businesses that you know and that know you. I’ve even brought my mum here to introduce her to them."

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