New ownership of the White Palace building at the corner of South Broadway and Bayaud Avenue threatened the stability of Famous Pizza last year, and the 44-year-old pizza place has been on a month-to-month lease since last winter. But there are other businesses in the building, including Socorro's Street Tacos, which has operated in a tiny storefront at 19 East Bayaud Avenue since 2010. That run will end this month, however, as owner Joyce Schaeffer is closing because of skyrocketing rent.
Schaeffer says the landlord wants to up the rent to more than four times what she had previously been paying, so it's not feasible for her to keep the taqueria open. "I don't understand how small businesses can make it, while property owners are getting rich," she says.
The taqueria owner says her son, Justin, is also closing his barber shop next door. She notes that her relationship with the building's longtime owner, Goldie Ellensweig (who passed away last year), was great for years and was still amicable when Ellensweig's children took over management in recent years. And she understands that landlords need to occasionally raise rates, but this is too much for her. She does not plan to look for a new location for Socorro's, saying, "It's just too hard."
Fortunately, Schaeffer also runs Joyce's Famous Pizza at 2120 South Broadway (just south of Evans Avenue), though she says the rent has gone up there, too, and that other modern factors have made running a business that relies on delivery more difficult. "There's Uber and DoorDash and Postmates now, so the competition is not just Chinese and pizza — it's everything now," she explains.
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Schaeffer was originally part of Famous Pizza (hence the name Joyce's Famous Pizza), but she left when she opened Socorro's and had a falling out with Famous Pizza owner Gus Mavrocefalos because he didn't like that she opened a restaurant so close to his (even one that sold tacos and burritos instead of pizza).
Socorro's will close on Tuesday, July 31, at the latest, or possibly sooner, Schaeffer says, if the restaurant runs out of food.
Here's the message Schaeffer sent to her customers on Socorro's Facebook page:
Sad News to report for Socorro's Street Tacos, we will be CLOSING business 7-31-18, rent is increasing almost 5x more with the new owners of the building, it was a great run for 9 years, & it was because of YOU, & your support on my small taqueria that we lasted as long as we have...with a heavy heart, and an idea 9 years ago, I personally am saddened that it has come to this, because, this was started my me in 2009, & not sure then, what it had turned into 9 years later....We definitely had many road bumps in this journey, & even today, so my apologies to ALL...a life lesson was learned, then & still learning now, as I move forward...my son's barber shop, next to Socorro's is also closing, same time frame, which he was in business for over 10 years, so we want to say good-bye to all of YOU....I do own Joyce's Famous Pizza @2120 S Broadway (Evans and Broadway), 303 77-PIZZA, if you would like to try some good N.Y. style pizza, come & visit....LIKE & SHARE...