Iconic New York wine store “struggling to keep the lights on”
Beleaguered NYC wine store Sherry Lehmann came close to having its energy pulled over unpaid bills, in the latest of many legal issues for the retailer.
In December, the drinks business reported that Sherry Lehmann, an upmarket wine store in Manhattan’s East Side, was in danger of closure as it battled a tax bill of more than US$3 million.
Now, the 88-year-old wine store has narrowly escaped having its lights shut off following a visit from US energy company Con Edison over unpaid bills.
According to The New York Post, the 550 Park Avenue retailer was visited on 27 February by representatives of Con Edison, who gave staff a “thirty minute warning” to gather their personal belongings before the power was shut off.
Sources speaking to the Post allege that store owner Shyda Gilmer treats the shop like “his personal booze stash”, even as finances have dwindled.
“Finally at the last minute he spoke with the guy and paid off online a little more than half of the balance to keep us in the light,” said one source, who added that staff had not been paid since the showdown with the energy firm.
The store already has its work cut out batting off complaints from customers demanding delivery of fine wines they paid for weeks, months, “or even years ago”.
Raymond Fong and Pak Chung are suing Sherry Lehmann over US$800,000 worth of cases of Chateau Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which they claim they paid for and should have received in 2019.
The store’s legal firm Nixon Peabody filed a motion to dismiss the case back in December, on the basis that the lawsuit “has no merit” because Sherry Lehmann “offered the customers a full refund of their deposit — which they declined.”
At the time, the store insisted that the wine was “scheduled to arrive in mid-February” but the Post has since reported that of early March the wines are yet to arrive.