HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A small mom and pop coffee shop finds itself up against the MTA, fighting to survive for a second time.
The shop has been a fixture at Metro-North’s Croton-Harmon station in northern Westchester County for more than half a century, but that could soon come to a close.
“My grandparents started this business 51 years ago,” the owner’s son, Sean Cohen, told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.
Cohen is fighting to save the family-run shop that his late-grandmother led despite being disabled.
“She ran the business, she was totally blind, she did all the books. All the books were in braille,” he said.
Commuter Daniel Dashman has been getting his caffeine fix at Nance’s Coffee for decades.
“They’re almost like part of the family,” he said. “She knows what it is that you like, how you like your coffee, whether or not you want cream cheese. She just knows all of this.”
The MTA is looking for bidders to take over the spot that sees more than 7,000 commuters on weekdays.
The family’s lease expired last year and their month-to-month rent was raised to more than $1,000. Now, the MTA is asking for a minimum of $1,500 a month.
The family said its willing to pay the 50 percent increase, but fear a major coffee chain could swoop in and offer much more.
“This would be a prime place for Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts,” Cohen said.
The MTA said the family has “served with distinction” for more than 50 years, but the agency has a legal responsibility to get “fair market value” from its real estate to help take pressure off ticket prices and passengers.
Believe it or not, Cohen’s grandparents went through the same fight in 1982 and won, Conybeare reported.
“They got over 5,000 signatures and letters, and everybody was calling the MTA switchboard, and the MTA retracted the bid. So that’s what we’re trying to do something similar now,” he said.
The family is submitting a bid to try to keep the space. The MTA said all bids are due August 4.