Lenny’s Delicatessen turned over its Lombard Street space in Baltimore last weekend to Helping Up Mission to concentrate on its other two locations in Owings Mills and the Horseshoe Casino.
The deli’s Lombard Street location, in a part of town formerly known as “Corned Beef Row,” opened in 1991. The deli donated its equipment, furniture and fixtures to the mission, according to a release from the deli. The mission is a Christian nonprofit that works to help those battling addiction and homelessness get back on their feet.
“You know, it made more sense because they needed it more than me,” said Alan Smith, owner of Lenny’s. “It was a good exit plan and seemed like the right thing to do.”
Smith added that he had been considering closing the Lombard Street Lenny’s for a while before this. Business was down, he said, and so when the nonprofit called and asked if he’d be willing to give up his lease, he decided to “rip off the Band-Aid.”
“I knew Lenny’s had a plan and knowing we had a need, I asked Alan if he’d be willing to leave early,” said Robert Gehman, executive director of Helping Up Mission. Smith was more than happy to oblige.
With Helping Up embarking on a $2.6 million renovation and expansion, Gehman said this was really the best situation they could hope for at this time. The mission had been considering using portable facilities in its parking lot, but Lenny’s will be a much more convenient solution.
“It’s very much appreciated and the gift couldn’t come at a better time,” Gehman said.
The mission, which houses about 500 men struggling with addiction and poverty, will set up in Lenny’s old space during May and June and open for operations in July.
Lenny’s first opened on Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills in 1985 and opened its newest marketplace in the Horseshoe Casino in 2015. According to Smith, business at these locations is great, and he has no intention of shutting down either of them.