BROOK PARK, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I-Team found a local grocery store forced to close because of no heat in the extreme cold, so we tracked down the landlord in his comfortably warm office.
The Produce Place closed Thursday, possibly for good. Inside it’s so cold, workers can see their breath. There’s ice on some windows; food that’s not meant to be frozen is freezing, and it seems even the water pipes have frozen. The popular grocery store in Brook Park left customers stunned to find signs announcing the closing.
Nick Teriaca says he’s complained to his landlord for months about having no heat. He said, "It's gotten to the point where I don't have any other choice now but to pull the plug and shut the place down.” He added, "It’s a very unfortunate circumstance. I feel very bad for my employees. I have a couple single mothers here. This is how they support their families."
After seeing that, of course, the I-Team went to look for the landlord. We didn't have to go far; found him next door. In fact, we found his office to be cozy, warm; plenty of heat there.
Abe Abdulla told the I-Team he had just called contractors to fix the heating system.
Yet, we wondered how the problem got to this point. And as employees at the store huddled around a propane heater, the landlord admitted he should’ve fixed the problem long ago.
He said, "It's my fault. It's my responsibility. I didn't read the lease. I made a mistake." He added, "I'm really sorry that happened, man. I apologize."
Abdulla says he can have the heating system fixed as early as Monday. But the store owner is looking for another location for his business while taking legal action against the landlord.
Nick Teriaca says he has two other stores. He will try to salvage as much of the food as he can from the Brook Park store, and he will try to find job openings at his other businesses for employees of the store that is closing.