January 2, 2014

Camillo’s Cafe Forced to Close Doors When Edens Refuses to Renew Lease

To the Editor:

As 2013 comes to a close, we, the owners of Camillo’s Café in the Princeton Shopping Center, say goodbye and thank you to all our loyal customers.

Many of you have asked Camillo, “What happened? Where will you be opening next?” The story, in brief, is that Camillo was set to relocate downtown and had a local Italian restaurateur ready to takeover our location and expand his business to the Princeton Shopping Center. Despite Camillo having a qualified buyer, the new landlord, Edens, refused to renew our lease and denied the buyer a new lease as well. Therefore, we had little to sell with only few months’ lease remaining. Instead of being able to expand and grow our small family-run business, Camillo’s Café was forced to close its doors after eight beautiful years.

We ask you to reflect on the developing situation at the Princeton Shopping Center. The new landlord, Edens, professes on its website to be committed to sustainability, connectivity and community, stating that it “develops, operates and manages community-oriented shopping places along the East Coast.” However, as a family-run business whose owners have lived and worked in this town since 1997 — and as a Princeton family left without a foot to stand on by this inhumane corporate mentality — we are dumbfounded. We are locals who have raised two children in the Princeton Friends School who went on to graduate from PHS. Edens’ professed “guiding principles” about connectivity and community and their actions toward us are incongruous, at best. Will there be any moral limits or social restraints placed upon Edens’ continued actions in this community?

We appear to be among the first group of merchants who have had their lease renewal denied and judging from the voices of other Princeton Shopping Center merchants, more will follow. We’re all waiting to see how Edens tries to change the PSC “community.” Our family asks this community to join in and ask the important ethical questions: Isn’t there something wrong with a world where money holds more value than people? How can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? We believe it’s crucial for business decisions to be more humanitarian while working toward a better world and a more enlightened community.

We wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that you reflect upon this situation with us. Again, thank you for all the years of patronage, support and loyalty!

Blessings to you all in 2014…and do keep your eye out for Camillo. He has big plans for the year to come.

Camillo Tortola, Roberta Pughe,

Zach Pughe-Sanford, Josh Pughe-Sanford

Princeton Shopping Center