Longtime Palisades Toy Store Puzzle Zoo Faces Eviction

Store in the process of trying to find a new location in the Pacific Palisades

By Dolores Quintana

Puzzle Zoo, a toy store that is an institution in the Pacific Palisades after 21 years of being in business, has been served with a 30 day eviction notice as reported by the Palisadian Post.

The Community United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades served the notice as the owners of the property. Puzzle Zoo owner Jay Demircift was shocked by the move and doesn’t know what the future will bring for his store.

The original location of Puzzle Zoo was founded in Santa Monica by a 20 year old Demircift, an immigrant from Istanbul, Turkey, who came to the United States at the age of 15. Demircift opened the first Palisades location of the store on Swarthmore Avenue in 2000 and the store moved sixteen years later to its current location. 

The Palisadian Post quotes Demircift about the eviction and he says, “I thought they were trying to get my attention since I owed them back rent from the pandemic. I thought if I catch up with the rent they would let me stay,” he said. “I don’t know what to think. I have never in almost 30 years in business had a landlord give me a 30-[day] notice to leave because if you own a retail building and you manage it you know what is involved in building it.”

Demircift responded to the eviction notice by placing signs in the store’s windows that said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “Community United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades has decided to kick us out … We don’t know how to convey our disappointment and sadness. Building a business and community takes a long time and the United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades is destroying 21 years of hard work with a 30-day notice.” He also made an emotional plea to the Board of Trustees to the Pacific Palisades Community United Methodist Church asking what he could do to remain on the property, but a final decision has been made by the Board. 

As quoted by the Palisadian Post, Demircift added, “When I put up the signs, I was hoping that they could see how distressed I was about the situation and thinking, maybe they will change their mind and discuss. I told them this will also affect me personally and financially, I have a family, two kids. I felt like I was talking to a wall, they had made the decision and it was done.

According to Demircift, he first signed a five year lease agreement with the church and after the lease expired last year, Puzzle Zoo went to a month-to-month lease agreement. Demircift had hoped to sign another long-term lease in the future. “The church has been very nice and accommodating in the past, that is why I am not understanding this,” he said. “It is just a shame that we have to move,” he said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post. 

The Community United Methodist Church responded to the Palisadian Post with this statement, “Like any property owner, the Church has the right (and the fiduciary duty as stewards of the parishioners’ resources) to do what it believes is the proper course of action with the property where Puzzle Zoo is located. Two proposed lease extensions were sent to the tenant, but no action was taken by the tenant. After further and careful consideration, the Church’s Board of Trustees have decided not to renew the lease for the Puzzle Zoo location.”

“We are sorry that our decision has caused the Puzzle Zoo ownership to be upset, but we are legally required to do what we believe is in the best interests of the Church, as the property owner. We trust the community, of which we have been a member for nearly 100 years, will respect our decision and not engage or indulge in any unfounded rumors.”

Puzzle Zoo is in the process of trying to find a new location in the Pacific Palisades but has faced difficulty locating a new potential location due to “high-priced property” as quoted by the Palisadian Post. 

The store has received visits from Palisades families who wanted to say their goodbyes.  General Manager of 11 years Gerardo Perez said, as quoted by the Palisadian Post, “I’ve come to understand how much I alone meant to many of the kids that live here, to even go as far as to ask me to autograph their purchase to keep as a memory. To our customers, I’d like to say thank you for all the support. We love you guys and I’m sorry that it’s come to this.”

in News
Related Posts

Man Gets 46 Year-Sentence For Santa Monica Home Invasion and Shooting

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

A Superior Court Judge Described Shahen’s Crimes as “Extremely Sophisticated and Well-Planned” By Zach Armstrong Vacho Shahen, a Las Vegas man...

Dehydrated Hiker Rescued from Temescal Ridge Trail

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

The Man Was Unable to Walk on a Remote Section of the Trail A 55-year-old male hiker was rescued by...

Fantastic Fireworks Celebrations in Los Angeles for July 4th

June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024

Find the Best 4th of July Displays and Parades on This List Culver City Fireworks Show: The Exchange Club of...

Santa Monica CEO Convicted in Landmark Insider Trading Case

June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

The Case Is Part of a Data-Driven Initiative by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section A federal jury in Los Angeles...

Suspicious Fire Behind Venice AT&T Building Investigated by Authorities

June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

Witnesses reported seeing a person start the fire, prompting an active investigation Authorities are investigating a fire in Venice that...

American Legion Post 283 Launches Initiative During July 4th Celebrations

June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

It Seeks to Foster Camaraderie Between the Public and Military Members Through Events Highlighting Medal Recipients, U.S. Service Academies, and...

Sci Fi Museum’s Lease Gets Terminated at Former Sears Building

June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024

The News Comes as a Slew of Controversies Surround the Museum and Its Founder By Zach Armstrong Amid tumultuous setbacks and...

(Video) Sport Fishing and Whale Watching on the Pacific Offered by MDR Sportfishing

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Located Out of Marina del Rey, More Information Can Be Found at mdrsf.com @palisadesnews Operating out of Marina del Rey,...

This Palisadian Will Be the Youngest Ever U.S. Olympian in Beach Volleyball

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Miles Partain, 22, Is One of Several Olympians That Came Out of Pali High By Zach Armstrong Palisadian talent will...

Pride-Colored Towers Vandalized During Pride Month for Two Straight Years in Palisades

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath Stated That the Graffiti Will Be Removed By Zach Armstrong For two consecutive years, pride-colored...

Woman Assaulted with Skateboard on Venice Boardwalk

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

The Victim Was Identified as a 40-Year-Old-Female By Zach Armstrong LAPD arrested a man who assaulted a woman with a skateboard...

Judge Blocks Barrington Plaza Evictions, Citing Legal Violations

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Owner Douglas Emmett Inc. Sought to Evict Nearly 600 Tenants Last Year, Citing Safety Upgrades The eviction of hundreds of...

Brentwood, Palisades, West LA Libraries Closures for Juneteenth

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Upcoming Program and Event Schedules for The Week  Brentwood Library Schedule: We are celebrating Juneteenth this Wednesday, June 19! The...

Yoga Gurus Sentenced for Defrauding Malibu Doctor

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Dr. Sawusch Had a Successful Medical Practice in Pacific Palisades and Amassed Significant Wealth Through Investments A federal judge sentenced...

Texas Man Sentenced to 33 Months for Threatening U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Gaherty Targeted the Congresswoman With Racist and Violent Threats  A Texas man was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison...