ASTORIA — Popular specialty grocery store Euro Market is back open after it was seized by the state and forced to close due to the owner's failure to pay $200,000 in back taxes.
The market, at 30-42 31st St. near 30th Avenue, was seized by the State Department of Taxation and Finance on Wednesday but reopened Friday around 5 p.m., according to store owner Panayiotis Menikou.
A representative for the state agency said the store had racked up $218,014.80 in unpaid sales taxes — a predicament Menikou said came from confusion over which food items in the store were exempt from taxes and which weren't.
"We didn't know which was taxable and not taxable," he said. "We're working with the authorities to fix the problem."
Someone also set up a GoFundMe page Friday looking to raise $200,000 for the Euro Market — but Menikou said he isn't behind the campaign.
"It's not my page," he said, saying it was launched by a fan of the store who was looking to help out. "I'm not a beggar."
He says it's back to business as usual for the market, which is known for its wide selection of European products, as well as items from around the world including Greece, Croatia and Serbia. It's also popular for its array of international beers.
Menikou, who originally hails from Cyprus and opened the market in 2004, said he has regular customers who drive all the way from Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to buy things they can't find elsewhere.
"This is a unique store," he said. "Euro Market is the only store that has everything."
Euro Market's hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sundays.