Renee Mancino was the beloved owner of the Washington Heights, New York neighborhood favorite bakery Carrot Top Pastries and known as the sweetest part of her regular customers’ day. Tragically, Ms. Mancino was found dead in the basement of her bakery this morning of an apparent suicide. Police responded to calls of gunshots. She was pronounced dead on the scene of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The last days of Ms. Mancino’s life were plagued by health problems, including a double knee replacement surgery and recent battle with cancer. However, Ms. Mancino’s widower directly connects her death with the exorbitant rent prices that almost forced them to shut down the bakery, known for its carrot cakes, for good. In 2010, Carrot Top Pastries’ landlord, Presbyterian Hospital, attempted to raise the bakery’s rent by $10,000 a move that would have tripled their rent to $15,000. Ms. Mancino had lately been struggling to keep the rent stable, along with her health, which culminated in her suicide, according to the New York Post.
“Thirty years don’t mean nothing. We paid rent 31 years and you have to open up negotiations? We broke our backs for 31 years. We built this business,” he said, through tears. “My wife killed herself right in front of me because she couldn’t take it any longer.”
Ms. Mancino has been described by customers and friends as a “hard worker with a heart of gold.”
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi