LITTLE ITALY, Manhattan (PIX11) — A historic Little Italy cheese shop that helped feed those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic is now asking neighbors for aid of their own to keep its door open.
“Alleva is the oldest cheese shop in America, the heartbeat of Little Italy, and a New York institution,” said Karen King, owner of Alleva Dairy, in a GoFundMe drive. “The pandemic devastated my business. I have yet to see the Federal or State grants that were talked about for our community.”
Like so many businesses, Alleva fell on hard times during the pandemic, particularly as tourism to Little Italy dried up, King wrote.
“The economic impact is clear and severe,” the post read. “Historically and annually, Little Italy earns billions in revenue for New York City, yet many businesses have been, and still are, forced to lay off employees and shut their doors.”
Even though King’s relatives, who make up the bulk of the store’s staff, have taken salary cuts and continue to work daily, the store has still fallen behind on its rent. Alleva’s landlord is seeking their eviction from their location at the corner of Grand and Mulberry streets, according to the post.
“I’ve never been in this situation before in my life,” wrote King. “I always pay my bills on time.”
King wrote that Alleva has been approved for federal aid, but said that the funds are yet to be disbursed.
During the pandemic, Alleva provided the needy with meals from their selection of imported Italian cheeses, cured meats, pastries, and more, regardless of their ability to pay, according to the post. Now, King is asking Alleva’s neighbors to lend them a helping hand.
The GoFundMe drive is seeking $150,000, of which about $4,350 had been pledged as of Friday morning.
“Please help keep our doors open,” the post read. “Don’t let Alleva Dairy and Little Italy become another victim of the pandemic.”