Following major issues with her building management, marshmallow maven Michele Mojica Bezue is moving out of SWEET Confections Boutique, which opened last October. In the interim, Bezue will be moving her operation across the street to Higher Grounds coffee house.
The problems began nearly a year ago when Bezue signed the lease on her 15439 Mack Ave. property near Grosse Pointe Park last April. For three months the owner who operates under the name PAB Investments refused to address electricity issues at the property, preventing the confectioner from cleaning the space or beginning her build-out. She responded by refusing to pay rent, an issue that was eventually settled during an August court appearance.
According to Bezue, the owner put up further roadblocks that prevented her from opening on time, including turning off her water four days before her original Grand Opening event. The two went back to court yet again to resolve the issues.
The final straw for Bezue occurred in January when she was forced to shut down her kitchen due to serious maintenance issues that she chose not to elaborate on. After revisiting the courts, she alleges the landlord attempted to extort her.
Bezue says she plans to file a civil suit against the property owner, noting that at least one maintenance problem in her lease has not been addressed.
The boutique owner says she's not sure how she will move forward, but is exploring the option of moving to another property or going back to her original pop-up booth. "I've lost so much money now with him that were I to try to build a kitchen again I'm starting totally and completely from scratch," she adds.
Looking Valentine's Day in the eye, Bezue notes with frustration that it without a commercial kitchen she'll find it challenging to fill wholesale orders. This season's romantic treat is the Aphrodisiac Fluffcake, which comes in five different flavors.