Bagel Maven Needs Help

Alex Perdomo is an American success story.

He came to the US at 13, from Honduras. For his first 3 years here, he worked full time to support his parents. At 16 he went back to school.

He’s been married for 27 years. He has 2 beautiful daughters. The oldest just graduated from college. The other is pre-med.

Eleven years ago, Alex bought Bagel Maven. He also bought new equipment to upgrade the popular spot, in the mini-shopping center near Five Guys.

This winter has been tough. Alex fell behind by half a month on his rent. Now, he says, his landlord told him to leave by February 29th — and to leave his equipment too.

“People tell me I should raise my prices,” he says. “I’m not that kind of person.”

Alex asked me to tell his story. But he’s not sure what he wants.

“I don’t know what to do. I’m desperate. This store is my life,” he says.

“I’m 46. It would be hard to start from the beginning.”

Alex Permodo at Bagel Maven.

I suggested that if people stopped in to Bagel Maven, they could talk directly. Maybe someone could help him figure out next steps.

He thought that was a great idea.

Alex has always been there for Westport. He donates bagels and more to any school, organization or event that asks.

Now he’s asking us for help. This is a creative, compassionate community. Let’s see what we can do for Bagel Maven’s bagel maven.

38 responses to “Bagel Maven Needs Help

  1. Thx Dan for telling Alex’s wonderful story. I’ve been involved helping Alex through the trials of owning and operating a business. Happy to volunteer some time towards rallying folks in town who can help Alex create a viable business plan. A few days ago I reached out to a local deli owner, on Alex’s behalf, and he gave us some great metrics to work around. What Alex needs most is someone who can give him a formula for operational success. Anyone interested in a call or mtg of the minds with Alex can email me at phil@thegigsuite.com. I used my PR skills a few years ago to keep him open. Now, Alex needs some sound business direction from those who have been in his kind of business.

  2. You are one of our biggest cheerleaders. I will stop by today and BUY bagels

  3. The landlord is going to kick him out because he’s behind his rent by a half month? That seems a little odd. Plus the landlord wants him to leave his equipment, which has nothing to do with being being late on his rent? His equipment is his equivalent! Who’s the landlord?

    • Agree that doesn’t sound right….

    • I meant “ His equipment is his equipment.” I hate auto correct! Auto correct ban go to he’ll.

    • Alex needs someone to offer legal services pro-bono. Several aspects of this situation doesn’t make sense. Alex is a man of character.
      My wife and I have helped him along the way and he’s always been forthright about his challenges with his business. He cares so much for our town. Let’s rally!

    • mainly depends what the lease says. at a high-level: some equipment if permanently installed could be considered permanent fixtures/improvements that the landlord gets to keep. again, depends what the lease says (and CT eviction laws). generally people that fall behind in rent can be evicted quickly (in the matter of days/weeks) if the landlord has its ducks in order – holds true for both residential and commercial leases.

      • Josh, Rents go by the month. If you’re two weeks late, you still have two weeks left in that month!

        • right answer is it depends what the lease says. if someone is late, they are late. landlords can choose to cut them a break, start eviction, etc. if someone didnt pay their february rent and it was due feb 1st, they don’t magically get two weeks more to pay because there are “two weeks left in that month”

    • Linda Sugarman

      Ataboy Jack, Start from the beginning!! WHO IS THE LANDLORD? That is the right ? And here you have the true story of the hard working immigrant being beaten down by the actual crook, the Simon Ligree (sp?) of the modern age!! Sound like anyone we hear about EVERY SINGLE DAY who is giving power to the crooks????

  4. THE VERY BEST OF LUCK TO YOU, ALEX.
    Westport is VERY CAPABLE of being compassionate and giving on so many levels. Go to it Westport, show the Corporate Guys how to do it!! Lots of big orders for your meeting rooms!! BIG TIPS for the working guy!! Honor and acknowledge LABOR which is where it ALL BEGINS!! (How about a few GREAT family bagel recipes that Alex can Franchise too!!)
    YOU GO WESTPORT!!!!!

  5. See the CT Ask A Lawyer Facebook Group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/2299403490168268/

  6. Oh no !! My go to bagel place since long before Alex got there. Heading there now for breakfast.

  7. Like Elvira’s did a while ago, perhaps offering prepaid credit for customers to give money now. Then he can make his current obligations. If the business fails before the credit is used, consider it a worthwhile donation.

  8. Hi everyone thank you so much for the support I really appreciated it
    I would like to explain my situation with the store
    It’s really hard to keep small business running these days and for it had been a little harder I haven’t pay my rent on time on monthly basic to be honest I ve been late every month either a week or two weeks but at the end I always come out to pay i had never fall behind for months or that I owe the landlord months of rent behind And whenever I’m behind I always pay my late fee
    For the month of January I was late and that’s when I got a letter from the Marshall office to quit possession
    I called the landlord that I was going to give him the rest of January and the month of February’s rent and he wouldn’t accepted he said I need to leave by the 29th of this month
    I’m trying to convince to keep me here this what I worked for so many years and loosing everything now It will be really hard for me and my family
    Thank you so much to the community of Westport for all the support .

  9. This is a disgusting story, and this landlord is a Simon Legree. Why don’t other landlords approach this one and HELP if they are truly interested in kindness and assistance and keeping Westport as we know it. This is the problem of stores here vacating, the rents, vis a vis David’s Tea on Main Street, Maybe Bagel Maven should bring a civil suit and open this to court, and let readers know when he case will be heard, his supporters would be there. Beware other owners of business where e this landlord holds the rent. Perhaps the other businesses could apporoach this person?

  10. My guess is he has someone else who wants to rent that space at a higher rate. That’s why he’s playing hard ball. I’d like to get his name. You can give it to Dan, and he’ll pass it on to me. Also, if you get current, by February 28th, he can’t evict you. I’d also like to find out how long this person or company has owned the property. You can get that information because land ownership is public information.

  11. Julie Fatherley

    I do not know how much Alex owes but I would gladly contribute $50.00 to
    a fund and hope others would do the same so he can reach his goal and
    have enough for future rent. Many smart people in this town with business expertise so hope more come forward to assist him in long-term planning
    and saving….Julie Fatherley

  12. Jennifer Rankine

    If Alex can extend/stay where he is I’d suggest signing up with SCORE. They are a network of volunteer, expert business mentors, dedicated to helping small businesses grow and achieve their goals. I also appeal to the landlord to reconsider.
    https://www.score.org/content/mission-vision-and-values

  13. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    Good luck Alex we were in today for bagels, very good! My only suggestion ….besides leaving …Westport is too expensive, is to make it more of a hang out place. Magazines, Newspapers, good coffee, I haven’t, tried it yet. There is not one thing to read there! I wish I could give you $ but I can’t. The ones who suffer with Westport’s high prices are the Westporter’s. We miss out on one place after another.

  14. Dan-
    Thank you for posting. I am extremely saddened by this. I have been a customer of Alex’s for as long as I can remember. Gong in joking with him and Luis about baseball.
    It just feels so old Westport. Alex has a damn good product. His bagels and salads are made fresh daily and the quality of his food excellent.
    It is sad the “cost of doing business” in this state is out of control. Hartford needs to do a better job of supporting small businesses with loan and tax relief.
    Rents…that is an animal that is hard to touch…the old days of the landlord, tenant and Westport Bank and Trust all working together are long gone.
    Alex always here to support you anyway we can my friend.

  15. Where do I send my donation ?

  16. I wish him the best of luck.

  17. I want to give people an idea of who Alex’s (Bagel Maven’s) neighbors are in this same building:
    Star’s Palace Nails and Five Guys.
    To the west of this building is the Volvo dealership and to east is the old IHOP which is also a nail saloon across the street is Terrain and Westport Fire Headquarters.
    11 years for a veteran business and the landlord wants to throw him out? Doesn’t make sense to me….
    Alex should be able to take his equipment with him.
    I know they’re lawyers, attorneys and other local business owners that read this blog someone should be able to give a a little help to navigate what’s going on.
    Also signing up for SCORE is a very good idea.
    I’m curious, what’s happening to the other two tenants?

  18. Susan Parise McManus

    My husband and I go to Star Palace monthly and always go early so we can stop in for Alex’s bagel, cream cheese and onions!! Delicious! Something must be done to help Alex!! And shame on the Shukie’s for their lack of compassion for their great tenant.

    • The deal is that Alex has been on a month to month basis with the landlord, starting in 2019-20, due to a history of late payments, on occasion. Winter months are tough on the business. Because Alex and his business mean so much to him, his family and our community, I propose we set up an idea I’ve had for a while but haven’t had time to put into action – a MAPS Reserve Fund (MomAndPopShops) – the objective is to structure a fund supported by the patrons of Bagel Maven. Funds would
      only be used to financially help Alex (and other shops) that struggle during tough months. Perhaps we unite now to implement this or a similar plan of action and be the blueprint for neighboring towns. We live in a vibrant and generous community, with ample resources for those like Alex who bring us joy because he has followed his dream. Interested in discussing more, email me at phil@thegigsuite.com.

  19. What competition?
    There’s more competition in Norwalk with bagel places than Westport
    Village Bagels is so far apart from each other.
    Village Bagels started in Norwalk next to Aitoro Appliance on Westport Ave 25 years ago. They opened another one in Norwalk at Rainbow Plaza Main Ave which that was bought out and renamed Pauli’s Deli in the late ’90s. Village Bagels then opened one in Southport next to now Michael’s formerly Walgreens and another one in Fairfield next to Bob’s footwear and apparel.
    Village Bagels only has their flagship in Norwalk then the rest are Southport, Fairfield and just found another one in Stamford on Hope St. There’s all quite spread out.
    There’s no guarantee that Village Bagels would be successful in Bagel Maven’s spot either since Bagel Maven is struggling in the winter months too along with other small businesses.
    Just my observation and thoughts on the matter….

  20. find.lawyernearyou.com/tenant/westport – maybe tenant advocate lawyer on the list will take the case on pro bono. Let’s not lose another great eating establishment. Or set up a go fund me page.

  21. He needs a pro-bono attorney at this point. What struck me as possible, I researched on the State of CT page and since he is a month to month tenant, if he offered payment to the landlord within a certain window he should have the right to pay back rent and current up to full. He said that it wasn’t accepted.

    I am not an attorney but an attorney may be able to help him stay.

    This is the law on month-to-month tenants

    “However, in cases of nonpayment only, the defendant can apply to the court for up to an additional 3 (three) months in which to stay, if the full amount of the back rent and/or use and occupancy is paid to the court within 5 (five) days of judgment, and an Application for a Stay of Execution is filed. In cases of termination of lease by lapse of time, the defendant can file an Application for Stay of Execution for up to an additional 6 (six) months from the date of judgment. A hearing will be scheduled to establish the actual amount of time the defendant
    can stay, if any, and the conditions, if any. You will be notified by mail of the date and time of the hearing on the Application for a Stay of Execution.”

    https://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/hm014.pdf. (page 8)

    The installed equipment would be considered permanent fixtures and if he is required to vacate the landlord is within his legal right to keep them if he chooses to.

  22. Dan, it has been a long while since I’ve lived in Westport, but SMALL BUSINESSES are (or used to be) what gives Westport its charm. If there is a GoFundMe page for Alex, and you can publish its access address, I will gladly contribute. Thanks. And good luck, Alex. I hope some of the folks who have posted above will be able to help you.

  23. There is obviously a systemic problem in Westport that small businesses – which are the lifeblood of our community and pretty much any community – seem to have such a hard time operating on a profitable basis. I don’t know anything about Mr. Permodo’s operation, but in many areas around the country it’s a combination of high rents, high taxes, regulatory compliance costs and minimum wage laws that is marginalizing otherwise viable businesses and then pushing them under when something goes wrong.

    It’s heartening that so many local people want to help here with donations and advice, but none of us should be under the illusion that any of this is likely to help very much. Systemic problems generally require political solutions. In lieu of that, I hope that Mr. Permondo is able to hang in there and make a go of his shop. He sounds like the kind of hard-working guy we all depend on for stuff we need to enjoy our lives.

  24. This is my final comment on this. James Shuckie could become a Westport HERO by letting this guy stay! He probably owns the property outright and it’s probably worth in excess of 2 million dollars! He’s willing to trade his family’s good name to squeeze an extra $7,000 dollars out of a new tenant, and throw out the old one? He read the comments and he’s not happy. From experience, people who own Post Road property don’t need the extra $7,000 dollars! What makes him think a new bagel place will generate more money? The guy is making a huge mistake and these comments will live on forever in the cyber world!

    • Jack et. al.. I spoke with Alex today and the property owner, Mr. Shuckie has not contacted him or offered any solution. Alex mentioned that he has spoken with Mr. Shuckie’s lawyer and nothing has changed and his eviction is still staring at him by the end of February. I was hoping Mr. Shuckie would have offered a solution to keeping Alex and Bagel Maven in place so we supporters could rally and make it happen but it appears that Mr. Shuckie is playing hard ball. If this all comes about I wish Mr. Shuckie a lot of luck because he has lost my business no matter who goes in there.

  25. How about picketing the bagel shop with signs asking for help? Put Shuckie’s name on the signs. Or call the press/NY Times/news stations? Get the word out beyond this forum. Embarrass Shuckie into doing the right thing. And all the other suggestions are great, too. GoFund me page, MAPs reserve, SCORE.

  26. Christine Riina

    Alex’s statement is incorrect. Alex’s first go at failure at his location was piqued by Village Bagels only because Alex owes Village Bagels money for wholesale bagels he purchased. Alex has since not settled his debts with Village Bagels or the business he bought by the previous owners of Bagel Maven. False news? Please go check out CT judicial to see the monies he owes to other businesses that work just as hard as Alex but pay their bills. Pleas remove that previous comment as it is libel.

  27. Christine Riina

    Why was my statement removed? You are fooling the people of Westport! Shame on this post! Go to CT Judicial for the truth of Bagel Maven

  28. My son was just in Bagel Maven. Sadly Alex said tomorrow is his last day.