In the wake of speculation surrounding Pinkberry’s reopening, an art gallery is now set to take its place at 1064 Chapel St.
Last Wednesday, Fred Giampietro SOM ’79 signed a long-term lease with Chapel Investments for the space formerly occupied by Pinkberry. The Giampietro Gallery — which was founded in 1979 by Giampietro himself — will be moving into the space from its two current locations on Orange Street and Peck Street. In the weeks leading up to this announcement, Pinkberry employees were left wondering whether the frozen yogurt shop would reopen.
“We weren’t told that it was officially closed,” said former Pinkberry employee Aaliyah Bohannon. “Many of us tried to reach out to the management, but we never got any response.”
Giampietro stated that he did not know why Pinkberry closed, but he has been searching for a new location for his gallery for almost two years. He said he was close to giving up until the space on Chapel opened up.
Former Pinkberry employees were unaware of the status of the shop when they saw the eviction notice on the storefront about a month and a half ago, but many speculated the store was permanently out of business. Several employees also said they had not been paid adequate wages.
New Haven Pinkberry franchise owner and former CEO of Steve Madden Jamie Karson said in an email that all employees have now been paid, but he did not specify whether he plans to reopen a Pinkberry branch in New Haven.
“We are currently evaluating all opportunities for the business in our market,” he said. “Regarding wages, we have paid all employees according to our records.”
Former Pinkberry employees interviewed, who have not worked at the New Haven location since September, said that they had not received final word of the building’s change in tenant.
And despite Karson’s email, three former employees said on Monday that they still have not been paid.
“We all already thought [Pinkberry] was closed for good, but the opening of the art gallery still brings some sense of closure. I will feel more closure if I take the case to court or the employees get paid,” Lane said after hearing about the gallery’s upcoming opening.
The gallery is set to open mid-January, according to Giampietro, and will replace both of his current galleries. The Chapel Street location will house “contemporary fine art” and will feature shows every four to six weeks, potentially including work from Yale students, which Giampietro has featured in the past.
The size of the space — which is approximately 2,300 square feet — is not the ideal size for the gallery, said Giampietro, but the value of the downtown location outweighed this concern.
“New Haven in general is a very difficult city because of the way it was segmented years ago — Ninth Square cut off by the green — so it is a struggle for a business to find a location,” he said, adding that his new location on Chapel should see more traffic from Yale students and tourists.
Renovations of the walls, lights and floor will take place later this week and should be complete two to three weeks from now. The space does not need extensive renovation, Giampietro said, but the branded Pinkberry decorations still need to be removed.
1064 Chapel St. is across from the Yale University Art Gallery and right across from the Yale Center for British Art. Another gallery, Wave, is also located on Chapel.