Plaza Bootery Raided by Cops: Update

19 Jan, 2011

By Polly Kreisman and Diana Marszalek

Police on Palmer Ave. in front of Plaza Bootery Tuesday


The Westchester District Attorney’s office had received at least one tip from Larchmont residents about counterfeit merchandise at Plaza Bootery.


Police cars and a police van pulled up in front of the store at 1910 Palmer Ave. in Larchmont about 3:00pm Tuesday, and a few minutes later, an officer emerged from the store carrying 25 boxes of what were being sold as Uggs boots, several items of  clothing labeled as North Face, and a computer hard drive.


Another officer later said they were looking for evidence of counterfeit merchandise. At least three investigators from the DA’s office were also on he scene.


Calls to Village of Police Headquarters were not returned.


We reported in December there were several complaints in the area about bootleg boots. We did not mention Plaza Bootery by name, though three customers complained to us about the allegedly fake Uggs, because we were unable to confirm that the merchandise was, in fact, knock offs.


Plaza also has stores in Bronxville and Greenwich, CT. Larchmont store owner Lee Mendes has not responded to past inquiries on this subject from theLoop.


A Larchmont resident told theLoop this evening that she bought a pair of Uggs for her daughter at Plaza Bootery in December. The price was $140, she said, but, as is well known to shoppers there, the store does not charge tax if one pays in cash, so she paid slightly less.







I noticed a metal tag on the boots that didn’t look right,” she said. “Underneath it were Chinese letters.”


The metal tags fell off, she said, and she returned the boots, requesting an exchange. Instead, she received a store credit because she did not have a receipt.


“I didn’t have a receipt because I paid cash to begin with,” she said.


She later paid $110 for the same boots at zappos.com


Another Larchmont resident says her babysitter was not so lucky. She says her sitter bought Uggs at Plaza “that soon fell apart.”


“If you look online,” she tells us, “you can read about how you can tell a fake Ugg.  These were definitely fake.” She says the store, in this case, would not accept a return.



Intentionally selling copyright-protected goods without permission is a federal crime. First-time offenders can face up to 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine.


We will update this story when we have more information.


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  • larchmontlounger

    So we all are told, urged to Shop Local, and this is what we get for it. Not like this was a surprise, but it’s got to hurt local shoppers’ confidence levels. What is it with old businesses and lazy shop owners? Figure out a way to bring in customers (without breaking the law) or retire. Simple.

  • nyer

    It’s sad that a storeowner would destroy the reputation of a Larchmont mainstay. I don’t think he was lazy, he just needed cash. He wasn’t thinking of customers or employees or his family, only of himself. Maybe he’ll have some money left over to get help.

  • wapel

    It’s a sorry day when the acts of one or two individuals in our downtown district threaten to compromise the reputation and support of the small business owners in our village. We moved here almost a decade ago, drawn by the eclecticism of the homes here, their proximity to the sound, the great schools and the low-key charm of the downtown district–an old town feel where national chains had yet to infiltrate. No doubt, the small businesses here are paying top dollar rents to serve the needs of those who continue to shop in this now sleepy town.

    Many ask “what’s happened to Larchmont” and the answer is that Larchmonters and others have turned their backs on this town. That’s terribly sad for all of us because we need this town to be vital. We need to support each other. The success of our downtown district reflects directly on our home values and helps offset our taxes, which in turn makes this town more desirable and increases the value of our homes. My UPS deliveryman tells me that they spend most of their time delivering online purchases these days rather than delivering merchandise to our local stores. That’t the kiss of death to our downtown…that’s why there are so many vacancies and that’s why our downtown looks so dreadful.

    Rumors about substance abuse in the Mendes family have been circulating for at least a couple of years now so it comes as no surprise that this businessman has
    resorted to such desperate behavior. Perhaps that desperation was in part due to the decline in business here, perhaps not but his actions should not reflect on anyone else but himself. The bottom line is that we ALL need to do our part to keep our downtown intact. These are hardworking, good people who have put their faith and their future in our hands. Let’s not let them down.

  • mrsleigh

    I agree with you, wapel. I am buying less but buying more from local stores and eateries. We have to be almost militant about it.

    I pay more for books ordering them through Anderson’s rather than Amazon. I shop at Larchmont drugs, not only because the service is better, or that prices are the same as CVS, but because I want them in business. While it may seem cheaper in the short run, it will be a LOT more of a loss when it comes time to sell your house in a town with all empty store fronts.

    My plea to building owners is this: PLEASE, no more banks or brokers. We have to have services.

  • Oreo

    “We need not destroy the past. It is gone.”
    – John Cage

    How many in the community are driving a “Big 3″ American car? And only one per family?

    How many in the community are using a Xerox ® machine? And for those outside theloopny world, have you given up your “photocopying” machine too?

    Times change, here too. Make it for better.

  • larchgirl

    how can we ask the building owners not to rent to banks or brokers? If that is who is able/willing to pay the rent, why should the building owner turn down a prospective tenant? When the buildings themselves were owned by locals or owned by the business owners themselves, then the building owner and the local population was one and the same thus presumably both looking to enhance the Village. Now that most buildings are owned strictly as investments (or tax write-offs?) by out-of-towners, the only interest is in the rent roll. How we got here is a road we can’t really re-trace.

  • http://www.redskins.com regularjoe

    All this talk about needing to support local businesses is nonsense. Larchmont retailers are not the only merchants who have to reinvent themselves in light of the explosion of the Internet. The brick-and-mortar stores in Rye, Scarsdale and Mamaroneck have similar challenges. Come up with a better idea, provide goods and services at a fair price and customers will come, although undoubtedly the Internet raises the bar.

    I stopped shopping at Plaza Bootery two years ago when I noticed that they consistently charged more than full retail – same stuff at Nordstrom’s was cheaper! Sorry, but operating in an affluent area is no excuse for gauging. To learn that they were ripping people off AND providing fake products … just beautiful. On the other hand, to speculate about the family’s drug problems in an open forum (I suspect without any proof) … eh, not so good.

  • sweenk

    Totally agree with regularjoe. The few times I shopped in the Plaza Bootery, I thought “Well, maybe they charge more because they provide really exceptional customer service?” Wrong. It almost seemed like they didn’t care whether I shopped there or not. And so I never went back. The fact that they were selling counterfeit merchandise is really a shame.

    I’m game for supporting local businesses provided they are running a GOOD business. I’m also not against regular retail stores – whatever supports the economy and provides goods/services that people want to buy. One thing is clear – something in our downtown needs to change.

  • dixie

    local businesses thrive when customers feel valued. our family believes in “loving our local” wholeheartedly when they make an effort to love us right back! we find this in many of larchmont’s local shops.
    there have been a few that upon our first visit — and upon a return second chance visit — they have shown, say, a look of flared nostril disdain upon our entering (this continues, i tried again the other day), a scolding to a child curious about a pop-up book, a NO RETURNS WHATSOEVER policy — these are businesses that LOSE business by sending us for the local mall.