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Palo Alto bakery Babka by Ayelet closes

Uploaded: Feb 7, 2020
Babka by Ayelet closed on Monday at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto, but owner-namesake Ayélet Nuchi hopes to reopen the Jewish bakery soon in Los Altos.


A selection of babka at Babka by Ayelet in Palo Alto. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Nuchi, who the dedicated babka bakery in late 2018, said she closed after rental disputes with the El Camino Real shopping center. Court records show that Town & Country Village filed in September a commercial unlawful detainer against her business, which allows landlords to evict tenants for not paying rent. A judge ruled in Town & Country's favor, cutting short her five-year lease.

Nuchi acknowledged that she was behind on rent. The babka shop was successful, she said, often selling out by the afternoon, but she still struggled to pay her $7,000 monthly rent. 

Jim Ellis, co-founder of Ellis Partners, which owns the shopping center, said management worked with Nuchi for about a year to restructure her rent so she could stay at Town & Country Village.

"We would have much preferred to see her continue to operate there," he said.

Nuchi, a native of Tel Aviv, served homemade babka in flavors like nutella, halva, raspberry-cream cheese and butternut squash. She is still taking online orders and hopes to reopen the bakery in downtown Los Altos soon, where she'll serve more Jewish pastries.
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Comments

 +   22 people like this
Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 1:33 pm

I'm sorry but "...The babka shop was successful, she said, often selling out by the afternoon, but she still struggled to pay her $7,000 monthly rent..." means she was not successful.

I went once, lots of wasted space in the store. There was no way she was producing enough product to pay the rent. Was never going to happen and someone should never have rented her the space in the first place.

/marc


 +   22 people like this
Posted by There was no golf cart to shuttle him to the square, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm

LOL. Doesnt pay rent and then claims she is a great businesswoman. Looks like the center tried to work with her.
[Portion removed.]


 +   20 people like this
Posted by Natan, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Jim Ellis claims he sought to work with Ayelet to restructure the rent. He also claims that he wanted her to remain at Town & Country. Nothing can be farther from the truth and if that statement was actually made it is defamatory as it is false and damaging to her reputation. I would ask him to issue a retraction.

In fact throughout her year as a tenant Ellis partners continually acted to add various charges to the base rent to increase it and in the last few months aggressively moved to evict her even though she paid the rent each and every month. They have actively evicted the small, independent business owners in the mall in order to make way for larger chain stores who can increase the value of their mall. Please take a look at the number of small stores that have closed in the last couple of months in the mall.

All of the history of this eviction are laid out in the court documents of this case. You should read them to see what happened here. If I can post a copy I will. Otherwise, they can be obtained from Santa Clara Court, Department 9.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by There was no golf cart to shuttle him to the square, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Natan-- you say:
"in the last few months aggressively moved to evict her even though she paid the rent each and every month."

Yet Ms Nuchi is quoted in the article as saying:
"Nuchi acknowledged that she was behind on rent. "

So who is not being truthful, you or her.
And the judge has already ruled on the eviction



 +   14 people like this
Posted by Natan, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 8:07 pm

“Behind in rent" means paid a few days after the first of the month. Ellis took advantage of the fact that she had been a stay at home mother who had a home catering business and wanted to open a bakery in the leading mall and gave her a one sided contract where the rent was due on the first of the month and the contract was silent on what happened if rent was paid a few days late. In most contracts there is a grace period and an opportunity to cure before there is a default. The judge leaned hard on Ellis to not declare a default for a few days of late payment and also ordered mediation and asked Ellis to settle. But they wouldn't budge and the judge was forced to rule that since the contract was silent on the issue they could declare a default. It's all in a public record and can be verified


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Marc, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 8:55 pm

@Natan, if what you say is true then it is clear that Ayelet had no business opening the retail store. If a lease says rent is due on the 1st of each month, then that is when it is due. Not a couple of days late, not when you feel like paying it.

Didn't Ayelet have a lawyer review the lease and negotiate on her behalf when it was signed? If she didn't then another reason she shouldn't have started the business.

/marc


 +   13 people like this
Posted by There was no golf csrt, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 11:45 pm

Natan* marc is correct, if the lease says due on the first, then it is due on the first. However I read behind on the rent meaning that she has not paid for at least a month. [Portion removed.]


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Aaron , a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 8, 2020 at 9:33 am

Stan's donuts in Santa Clara! Worth the drive.


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Emma, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 8, 2020 at 11:55 am

When it first opened, their babkas sold out very quickly so by 11 none were left for purchase leaving 5+ hours of turning away business. The babkas were incredibly expensive at $25 and they were just okay. I purchased a raspberry one once the whole bottom was soggy from the raspberry juice and then tried a cinnamon one and it tasted barely of cinnamon and I threw it out because it was really bad. Perhaps the other flavors were better, but at $25 a pieceQAZJS, I wasn't going to try again. It was not a great decision to open a store specializing in a product that is foreign to many people, and then to not make enough product to sell to the customers who were familiar with babkas. Maybe she can sell her babkas to an established cafe.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Mac Clayton, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 8, 2020 at 9:43 pm

Oh, I'm sorry to see this. I loved her babka and found her charming. If you read this, Ayelet, I'll miss you. Good luck in Los Altos.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by too pricey, a resident of College Terrace,
on Feb 8, 2020 at 10:38 pm

The babkas were all $5, large, and unhealthy. IMO smaller, more affordable babkas would have sold better due to both price and fewer calories.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Nancy, a resident of Downtown North,
on Feb 10, 2020 at 3:41 pm

I find it sad that people who don't know anything about this woman or her situation feel entitled to post comments and pass judgment about her.


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