The Long Beach community has started a GoFundMe campaign for Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters after the state closed the business last week for failing to its pay taxes. The fundraiser has since helped Gentle Brew reopen the doors to both locations.
The GoFundMe campaign was launched on June 8 and raised more than $3,000 for the coffee shop as the Herald went to press on Wednesday.
Gentle Brew, at 151 E. Park Ave., was seized by the state on Tuesday, June 4, along with its location on the boardwalk at National Boulevard. Sea by the City, a local blog that has also expressed its support for the business, reported on Friday that both of Gentle Brew’s locations have been reopened.
According to James Gazzale, spokesman for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the company owes $51,281.49 to the state. He added that the liability dates back to 2017.
Gentle Brew opened on East Park Avenue in 2012, just three months before Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach. It was one of the first businesses in Long Beach to open its doors to the public after the storm. The staff handed out clothes, protein bars and other items to those in need, and the business has since become a staple in town.
Residents took to social media to express their support for the business, which appears to be struggling financially.
“There was a collective desire throughout the city from loyal customers and small business owners, who wanted to support them in order to get back on their feet,” said local resident Amanda Moore. “Long Beach needs Gentle Brew as not only a coffee shop and roastery, but as the true community hub it has been since it opened its doors.”
Gentle Brew’s owners did not return requests for comment. In a message to customers posted on the GoFundMe page, the business said it had a difficult year, particularly from an undisclosed “legal battle” that caused financial stress.
“We're not asking for the community to pay for all of our mistakes, but we're hoping that you could help us get back on our feet, so we can reopen and continue doing what we love for our amazing community,” wrote Mel Chiusano, Gentle Brew’s general manager.