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120-year-old bakery forced to close in Price Hill over landlord dispute

The last straw came when a water leak ruined thousands of dollars in inventory last week.
A sign in the front window of St. Lawrence Bakery in Price Hill states that the business has...
A sign in the front window of St. Lawrence Bakery in Price Hill states that the business has closed due to landlord electrical issues.(The Enquirer/Chris Mayhew)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - One of Cincinnati’s most long-standing bakeries says they are forced to close their doors because of a landlord dispute.

St. Lawrence Bakery has been in operation for 120 years, including more than 50 years at Warsaw and St. Lawrence avenues in Price Hill.

Brothers Paul and Bill Hartmann own the bakery. On the wall is a picture taken in 1901 of their grandfather at the old location on Liberty Street.

Now Paul says a water leak is forcing him to close.

“That’s why the ceiling is all messed up,” he said. “We finally got tired of dealing with it.”

Paul says Thursday was the last straw when the electricity went out shutting down the bakery’s mixers and freezers and ruining $8,000 of inventory.

He says he couldn’t get in touch with his landlord over the weekend to get it fixed.

Paul adds they can’t find a new location because it would be too expensive to upgrade the equipment to today’s codes. The mixers they use, he explains, were grandfathered in, so they were able to continue to use them.

Sam Alnajar is the building’s owner.

“I love these people,” Alnajar said. “I love this bakery.”

Alnajar says there is more to the ordeal than a simple electrical outage.

“The COVID-19,” he said. “They’ve been struggling for two years, and they always pay rent on time before.”

Paul and Bill counter Alnajar makes maintenance promises he rarely keeps.

“We just feel bad for our customers that it happened like this,” Bill said. “We just had to close kind of abruptly.”

Among those customers is Todd Horton, who says he’s been coming to the bakery since he was a little kid.

“It’s sad that they’re leaving, because now in the morning, I don’t know who I’m going to get my food from,” he said.

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