GREENFIELD — A locally owned eatery faces eviction from its downtown Greenfield café space amid allegations of unpaid bills and bounced checks dating back to the beginning of the year, court records state.
SoupHerb, 16 N. State St., is currently the defendant in two lawsuits, one from a vendor and another from the building’s landlord. Both complaints are filed in Hancock County Superior Court 1. Together, the two claims state SoupHerb owes more than $106,000 in damages, fees and unpaid debts, according to court documents.
SoupHerb owner Mark Lozier maintains the restaurant — saved from closing last year by a group of citizens that pooled resources to buy the business — is operating successfully, and there are no plans to close.
Following its original owner’s retirement, SoupHerb briefly closed last spring; but a group of six local investors rallied together to purchase the popular lunch destination and keep it in business, citing a desire to keep the city’s downtown district active. Lozier has run the business since.
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The soup and sandwich shop moved from within the Creative Arts and Events Center, 2 W. Main St., into its current location, just around the corner.
Twenty Main LLC, the property management company that owns the storefront is asking a judge to evict the business, saying the restaurant owes four months’ rent — an amount totaling nearly $8,000, court documents state.
Twenty Main said SoupHerb has “failed and refused to pay” its $1,750 monthly rent since January, despite the company’s attempts to establish a payment plan, court documents state.
The property management company is asking a judge to kick SoupHerb out of its storefront and force the restaurant to pay its rent in addition to more than $105,000 in damages, the court document state.
Meanwhile, a vendor said SoupHerb “knowingly and intentionally” issued a bad check earlier this year, and the amount remains unpaid, according to court documents.
SoupHerb hired Morgan Services, a hospitality equipment company, to deliver linens to the Greenfield establishment weekly, court documents state.
In March, SoupHerb wrote Morgan Services a check that bounced, according to court documents. Now, the restaurant owes nearly $800, according to the complaint. Morgan Services has asked a judge to order SoupHerb to pay that balance in addition to an unlisted amount in damages, court documents state.
Lozier, a Greenfield insurance agent who spearheaded the effort to purchase the café and now oversee operations at the place, denied the allegations. He told the Daily Reporter all the rent payments are up to date; he admitted some of SoupHerb’s vendors have not been paid because he was dissatisfied with their services.
He declined to comment on the situation further but said he planned to file a counter-suit against the SoupHerb’s landlord.
Greenfield attorney D.J. Davis is representing SoupHerb in the legal battle against Twenty Main. This week, Davis said he is working to review SoupHerb’s lease and deciding how best to move forward with the case. He said it is too soon to know if a counter-suit will be filed.
Attorneys for Morgan Services and Twenty Main declined to comment on the pending cases.