20 Aug 2014
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The Grind's Landlord Said He's as Surpised as Any to Its Closing

Jeremy Sladovnik denies the allegations that he raised the rent and forced the popular coffee shop to close.

The Grind's Landlord Said He's as Surpised as Any to Its Closing

A Wyandotte business owner, who initially declined to talk on-the-record with Patch, is now explaining his side of a story that has catapulted out of control over the last 48 hours. 

When news circulated that owner of The Grind coffee shop, Rose Henry, said she was forced to close her business after the new landlord raised the rent on the building, Jeremy Sladovnik said he was taken aback.

Sladovnik, who is the new landlord, stands firm that “at no point did I ever raise the rent.”

City Assessor Tom Woodruff, who saw the contract with the former landlord, David Lonier of WS LLC, agreed.

“I saw the contract with the former owners and he continued with the contract at the same rate of $2,300, ” said Woodruff, who praised Henry’s shop.

“I’m going to miss the coffee shop. It was good coffee, and it’s better than going to the national brands. It was a nice place for people to gather, and (Sladovnik) would be foolish to try to force her out. You want to keep your tenants happy."

Although Henry argues that the $2,300 rent amount is incorrect, citing an agreement she had with Lonier, who also said her rent was $1,500 per month.

“The rent was $1,500, plus $800 to make up for the back rent. But (Sladovnik) doesn’t get the back rent,” Lonier said. 

According to The News-Herald, which obtained a copy of the lease agreement, “Henry is to pay an additional $800 per month to settle $11,624 in rent past due,” the paper said, citing an attachment to the lease, known as a rider, which is annexed to a document in order to modify it. 

“The balance on the lease went to the new owner, which was $1,500,” Lonier said. “That’s what we were asking. That would be fair. You’d think they would use the terms of that lease. After all, they’re locked into it."

But Sladovnik, a prominent business owner in Wyandotte, who purchased the building in late December, said the previous rental agreement was for $2,300. If she was paying $1,500 for rent and then an additional $800 in back rent per month, that equates to $2,300, he said. 

Sladovnik said he originally speculated that Henry was retiring due to the unannounced closure of her coffee house.

“(Henry) left in the middle of the night. She didn’t give any claims as to what her intentions were, she just up and spilt,” Sladovnik, who also owns Joe’s Hamburgers in Wyandotte, said.

“The lease said $2,300, which is what I asked for,” he said.

Sladovnik said he purchased the building, which includes The Grind (3037 Biddle), as well as the adjacent spot (3041 Biddle), formally the It All Makes Scents store.

Sladovnik said he plans on moving his restaurant into the vacant spot, and that he had “absolutely no intention of taking over The Grind’s location.”

“This entire ordeal has affected me professionally and personally,” he said. 

“I had no intention of messing around with Rose’s business. I’m dedicated to the town and Joe’s Hamburgers. I don’t understand why she left in the middle of the night. There are a bunch of unanswered questions, but it is what it is.”

Many residents expressed anger toward Sladovnik on social media after the closure of the coffee shop went viral. Some even suggested boycotting Joe’s Hamburgers.  

“This is my livelihood,” he said. “I have a family to feed, and I love this city, but it has really taken a toll on me.”

“I’ve not only lost a business partner, I’ve lost a friend,” Sladovnik said. 


andrew.thurlow@patch.com 

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