High rent and the effects of the pandemic are taking a toll on local businesses. A beloved pizzeria in Larchmont is feeling those pains, but the community isn't giving up easily.
“This is real. This is as real as it gets,” Steve Cohen, owner of Village Pizzeria, said.
The Larchmont pizzeria is the classic pizza place everyone knows.
“We come here all the time,” customer Sheila Hoyer stated.
That strong business was shaken by the pandemic.
“Pepperoni is hard to get because who is working in factories producing food? My cheese went up last month, a dollar a pound in one week," Cohen said.
Cohen has tried to come to an agreement with his landlord, but closing the doors of this storied and traditional pizzeria is now more of a reality than ever.
“We have been blessed with a strong business," Cohen said. “We're facing an insurmountable challenge, but Village Pizzeria isn't facing that challenge alone."
Customer after customer stopped by the parlor Saturday to sign a petition to keep Village Pizzeria open.
“I feel like a paying tenant is better than no tenant. It serves the community, we're all in this together,” Hoyer said.
A petition on change.org has garnered thousands of signatures.
The support has left the talkative boy from Brooklyn at a loss for words.
“I'm farklempt,” Cohen said.
Other owners in Larchmont are facing similar situations. Owners say 10 to 15 businesses may have to close by the end of the year, drastically changing the face of the community.
Dimitrios Houndalas, owner of Le Petit Greek, is also worried about what will becomes of the area.
"If I go, and Village Pizzeria and a couple other places go, there will be nothing left in Larchmont,” Houndalas said.