Potato chips drive wedge between Yogurt Stop and landlord.

Yogurt Stop owners Marta Knittel and Shoshana Joseph continue to try to work with their landlord on an acceptable solution. A forced mediation took place this past week. The owners of the property are Joanne Nathan, Robin Iiotta, Patt Sefton-Hoffen, Yank Sefton and Warren Sefton. Nathan and Iiotta are sisters, and the Seftons are siblings. The owners inherited the building from their parents who were partners and operate as a 50/50 partnership.

Yogurt Stop, the original ‘Pump it Yourself’ West Hollywood favorite, located at 8803 Santa Monica Blvd., is finding lots of ruffles in their plan to sell the business. The shop was placed for sale, and secured a financially capable buyer.

The business was sold for close to the asking price of $875,000. The transfer of the lease requires landlord approval. The prospective buyer was then turned down by the landlord.

In 2018, when Yogurt Stop went to renew their lease, they asked for permission to expand their use to include “incidentals.” In 2019, the pandemic hit. The shop started selling PPE items and expanded their footprint to the approved outdoor areas per the City of West Hollywood “Outzone” program. The Landlord has accused the tenant of being “in default” of their lease for selling potato chips along with other non-yogurt items.

Yogurt stops pays close to $9,000/mo. in rent. The space next door to Yogurt Stop, ‘Unity’, is for lease, with the asking price of $6,500 for a similar size space. The building which extends up Palm Ave., houses ‘Hollywood Burger’ (which has remained empty for more than four years), ‘Unity’ (now empty), ‘Kale Me Krazy’ (new tenant which sells smoothies and Acai bowls, in direct competition with Yogurt Stop; is not yet open), ‘Sean Patric’k store (now empty) and the ‘London Fromson’ space located at 807 Palm (also empty). Ajisai, a Sushi restaurant located at 809 Palm, is the only other open business within the building. The same landlord also owns the old ‘Cafe D’Etoile’ space and ‘Organic Ice Cream’ shop that is now being combined to open the new ‘Stache’ club. It appears that the Yogurt Stop and Ajisai are the only businesses “open” on the boulevard despite this landlords oversight of almost 10 retail storefronts in the Rainbow District.

Unity, located next door to the Yogurt Stop has been closed for almost a year. Then owner ‘Lily’ was able to secure a buyer for her location and asked same landlord for approval. When the landlord denied the transfer of the lease to the new buyer “Unity” was forced to close. The business had been sold for $100,000. No tenant has occupied the space since.

Prospective tenants to occupy the space also included the owner of BlockParty, Larry Block. Block attempted to secure the Sean Patrick location located at 803 Palm Ave as a guarantor on the lease on behalf of his employee Nick Rose. Rose, “the drunken barber,” was the 2nd runner up in the WEHOville’s Best of 2020 hair salons and this would be his first free standing salon. Block again attempted to rent the shop located on both sides of the Yogurt Stop for above asking price for a footwear business and was denied approval on both spaces. The landlord continued to keep those spaces empty. Block is also the majority owner of this publication.

Mediation ended with ‘No Comment’ from landlord Joanne Nathan, and “We cannot comment” from both Yogurt Stop owners. It appears the Yogurt Stop owners have been denied the transfer of the lease and sale of the business. Yogurt Stop’s lease is up for renewal in early 2023.

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[…] owners of Yogurt Stop on Santa Monica Blvd. have set up a GoFundMe page seeking donations for legal expenses related to a battle with their […]

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[…] owners of Yogurt Stop on Santa Monica Blvd. have set up a GoFundMe page seeking donations for legal expenses related to a battle with their […]

SeeMe
SeeMe
3 months ago

There has to be something way more to this than potato chips. Either the landlords are up to something (emptying out the property for a sale?) or the owners of Yogurt Stop have have been problematic tenants. The fact that this is being played out publicly – and gleefully amplified by Wehoville – doesn’t make it any more newsworthy until we actually get the whole story.

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  SeeMe

It’s Karma. They had this coming

SeeMe
SeeMe
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

It does seem they get a bit of a mixed response in the comment sections of these articles. Where there’s smoke…

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  SeeMe

SeeMe, why are you trolling? Did you not read the article? It’s about all the business and landlords emptying the doors. Stop being a hater and hiding behind your keyboard. I love yogurt stop. If you have nothing nice to say…

SeeMe
SeeMe
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Based on the article, it makes no sense that the owners of the property won’t allow the owners of Yogurt Stop sell their business or make deals with prospective new tenants. Doesn’t that invite your curiosity that there might be more to the story? It sounds to me like they are just looking to sell the property to a developer, but again, we don’t know. Please don’t mistake reasonable curiosity for trolling – especially when there is enough of it already on this site – and there’s no need to get personal over something that has nothing to do with… Read more »

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

I’ve noticed this Aubel guy go after the owners of this fine establishment. My wife and I frequent this place. Have some balls, dude, and let us know what your beef is with these gals? Are you a mysoginist? I think you used to work at the City, no? Why do you pick on them/women/lesbians and so bitter?

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Have some balls? I use my full name. Yes I worked at city hall, and that is how I know the owners. They we very unpleasant to deal with, and that is putting it mildly. Nothing to do with hating lesbians or being a misogynist.

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

We all know why you had to retire early from the city. You have a reputation of being an a-hole.

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I’m no more of an “a-hole” than the owners of yogurt stop.

Dirty Laundry
Dirty Laundry
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

In defense of Jeff Aubel, while dealing with him as he attempted to mitigate and or solve a long standing neighborhood disruption by an organization totally disrespectful of their surroundings, he was never anything but cordial, prompt and appeared to have infinite patience. The organization’s behavior partially resulted in the city being sued for not respecting the neighborhood property owners address their outlandish idea of a solution. The city lost.

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Have you read Jeff’s other comments on wehoville? He is horrible.

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

No, just truthful.

Dirty Laundry
Dirty Laundry
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

Can any competent person imagine running a business without available legal counsel and think they could sell said business for close to $1 million without counsel and be undesirable to their landlord as well without repercussions?

TomSmart
TomSmart
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

misogynist

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

Bitter

Pat Dixon
Pat Dixon
3 months ago

i think these landlords are awful. Having an empty store can’t benefit anyone. I have always thought that commercial property should be subject to some kind of “rent control” or at least a pledge of decency in helping to create West Hollywood as a place people want to live and work in. I don’t understand what’s in it for the families of the landlords. Are they waiting for a billion dollar offer to build a hotel? It’s very disheartening. People who have so much continue to give so little in return.

hifi5000
hifi5000
3 months ago

Wow, what is it with these landlords owning a building that has hardly any tenants!!?? You are not making any money with hardly any tenants and you will not OK any new qualified tenants to willingly take over any leases. I say you have a hole in your head.

One of the commenters here say the owners can do as they please.Gee, what a great way to bankruptcy!!

Art
Art
3 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

Yes, but he’s always been like that. ‘Nuff said.

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago
Reply to  Art

No one writes ‘nuff said’ anymore.

Tom
Tom
3 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

I am sure that they are paying little in property taxes because of Prop 13 going towards businesses as well as homes. They clearly want Yogurt Stop out, either so they can rent the whole space to a larger and more deep-pocketed tenant or to sell the place vacant to a developer.

If there was a way for the city to fine landlords who let commercial spaces sit empty for months and months at a time then I am sure they’d fill up fast..

C.R.
C.R.
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom

The answer is a vacancy tax. There should not be anyone on the city council that doesn’t support this and it should have been passed years ago. The same should also apply to apartments sitting vacant.

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
3 months ago
Reply to  C.R.

AMEN! We, The People, of the City of West Hollywood, RISE UP and DEMAND that our City be maintained as a decent place to live, ESPECIALLY for LGBT and other minority-owned businesses, even more so than any other area, due to its local history as an LGBT-affirmative business atmosphere. We The People will not stand for the disgusting “urban blight” appearance of empty storefronts that stay empty due to the vile, disgusting, sheer GREED of foul landlords who have no connection, no history, and no representation in the LGBT or minority communities that make West Hollywood great. If they won’t… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
3 months ago

These greedy landlords are a disgrace. What West Hollywood should have started years ago is charging vacancy taxes on GREEDY LANDLORDS like this who leave empty storefront space just sitting there like an eyesore in the community and decrease the overall quality of life there. Enough already!

mike fisher
mike fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  C.R.

Thoroughly agree with you … empty units do no-one any good … face up to it Landlords

Art
Art
3 months ago
Reply to  C.R.

Yes, West Hollywood: charge landlords for storefronts they willingly keep empty! We need to hurt these greedy landlords anyway we can.

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
3 months ago
Reply to  Art

AMEN!! RISE UP! And if the current members of the West Hollywood City Council won’t work for US, THE PEOPLE, vote them the f— OUT OF OFFICE and replace them with true representatives of the People who will. The days of the foul, stinking, putrid, filthy rich landlords and land”ladies” running the show are OVER. RISE UP!

JustSaying
JustSaying
3 months ago

Maybe karma hitting them for fleecing the community during the height of the Pandemic by charging $2.50 per tiny side of toppings!

TomSmart
TomSmart
3 months ago
Reply to  JustSaying

…. And yet like anywhere else, it’s your decision to go there or not.

JustSaying
JustSaying
3 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

You are correct – which is exactly why I stopped going to them when I saw them charging obscene prices.

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  JustSaying

Who are you? I think $2.50 is a great deal. JustSay your real name… I looked at the other article and you said the same things…JustSaying… Clearly you’re not successful cuz if you were you’d never write these things.

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I’m beginning to wonder if Ron is just a cover name for Marta or Shoshana?

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Aubel

Nope. Just someone who is tired of…

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
3 months ago
Reply to  JustSaying

Don’t blame yogurt stop. Blame the filthy greedy landlords/landladies who are charging $9,000 a month for rent in a pandemic.

WeHo Friendly
WeHo Friendly
3 months ago

There crazy they sell the business and the landlord says you can’t ?

Jeff Aubel
Jeff Aubel
3 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Friendly

They’re

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
3 months ago

The owner can do as they please.

:dpb
:dpb
3 months ago

This stinks with future development for another multi-use building. Truly saddened that loyal and conscientious businesses are getting squeezed out due to landlord greed.
Btw: potato chips are killer topping for chocolate frozen yogurt.

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
3 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

The West Hollywood City Council and the Planning Commission need to do their jobs to protect the PEOPLE of the City by having a safe, fun, high quality of life, with NO empty storefronts, NO empty buildings, safe and affordable access to LGBT and other minority-owned businesses, severe rent control that allows for affordable goods and services at the stores and restaurants, and to fight back against over-development by the foul Moneybags big-investors and foul greedy landlords/landlandies who would ruin the legacy of our City.

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