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Steep Rent Hikes Shutter an 18-Year-Old Cobble Hill Gift Shop

By Nikhita Venugopal | January 20, 2014 11:45am
 Classic Impressions, a greeting card shop on Court Street, is closing its doors at the end of the month after 18 years on the neighborhood.
Classic Impressions
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COBBLE HILL — It’s a tale of two small businesses.

Classic Impressions, a Cobble Hill greeting card and gift shop, will close at the end of January after the property owner, who also runs a neighborhood bakery, hiked its rent.

The 18-year-old shop, located at 296 Court St., couldn’t afford the new rent, which almost quadrupled last month, said manager Eddie Russo, who did not wish to disclose the amount.

Holiday napkins, fake Christmas trees and snowman mugs line the shelves at Classic Impressions but signs like “Everything 50% off” and “Going Out Of Business” belie its Christmas spirit.

The leftover Christmas stock, heavily marked down during the shop's final days, will be taken to its second Bay Ridge location next month, said Russo.

The rent hike will force another mom ‘n’ pop to vacate the burgeoning neighborhood.

“It’s like a mini Manhattan,” said Russo.

City records show that Gasper Zerilli, a local pastry chef and baker, owns both 296 and 298 Court St., where Zerilli’s business is located.

Zerilli co-owns Court Pastry Shop, a decades-old bakery that neighbors Classic Impressions.

He told DNAinfo New York that until now, he hadn’t increased Classic Impressions' rent since 2008. Zerilli did not specify how much the rent had gone up either.

While Zerilli didn’t seek a new tenant for the property, he was approached by an interested business last year.

He allowed the greeting card and gift shop to continue business over the holidays and said his new tenant, who he did not wish to identify, would move in by April.

“I didn’t look to do this,” said Zerilli. “They gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”