Monday, January 12, 2015

Lack of local homeowners puts Astoria hardware store out of business

From the Daily News:

A Queens hardware store that’s been an Astoria staple since 1955 will close up at the end of the month, a victim of declining business in the evolving neighborhood.

Owner Tommy Orama, 58, bought Square Hardware in 2000 after working in the Ditmars Blvd. shop for 20 years.

“No matter how bad business is, the rent doesn’t go down,” said Orama, who operates the store by himself after slowly downsizing his four-person staff.

The combination of a looming hip replacement and the expiration of his lease convinced Orama that now was the time to move on.

“I can’t do six days a week as comfortable as I used to,” he said.

Orama says he’s marveled as the formerly working-class area of homeowners has transitioned to a population of new Queens residents, who often rent apartments and don’t need as many things to fix up their homes.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

finally, a 'mom and pop' going out of business that isn't blamed on Walmart, Home Depot or other big box store.

Good luck to the business owner in retirement.

J said...

I'm sad to see anyone lose their business but is it really the case the primary reason he is going out of business is the change in neighborhood demographics? Astoria is a relatively dense neighborhood with blocks of apartments that have been there for... Decades? A century? More condos are going up but how many owner occupied houses have been lost in the process?

I'm willing to believe demographic changes might play a role but with Amazon, a home depot nearby and the nature of electronics and home maintenance pushing forward is it really such a story that a 20th century retail shop has to close its doors in 2015?

Anonymous said...

Another nail salon or laundromat is waiting in the wings.

Richard Stefan said...

well he is right the kids today cant fix anything or wont even try. i've made thousands of dollars off of CL just picking up free stuff fixing it and reselling it......ever heard of a soldering gun? or a dewalt power drill?

Anonymous said...

The problem are campaign donations by the real estate industry which buys the politicians to keep their mouth shut as they distort community services to maximize what the landlords and developers can make at the expense of the livability of the area.

Sure you can make more money in the short term if you price the hardware stores, delis, and other services that a community needs - and put them at the mercy of poorly run big box stores where you can spend several afternoons over a few months trying to find the widget you need.

The ultimate path this takes is to destroy the shopping areas in a community and make them honky-tonk fraternity row with noise, litter and a poor quality of life. Remember areas that had roadhouses, gin-mills and even drug dens and houses of prostitution make a tremendous amount of money for landlords, but are not places you want to live.

The city is waking up to this problem, but Astoria, filled with its unlettered leadership, is telling everyone the high rents means the rich are moving in - something that outside of the gullible locals, no one believes.

Anonymous said...

That Halvetis broker, seen licking his chops on how many bars can be carve out of this space, is an example of what goes for civic leadership in those parts: he jumped that the chance to show his true civic cred by brokering the Steinway Mansion deal to a couple of 'investors' that want to carve that place up at the expense of the community's future, but have yet to emerge from their hole in the ground.

Eleftherios Venizelos Greek Restaurant said...

A Greek restaurant is waiting in the wings!?

Anonymous said...

Why pay $15 for a light switch at a local hardware shop when you can buy one for $10 at HD or Lowes?

Anonymous said...

As the owner said, the rent keeps going up. There are loads of empty storefronts on ditmars because these fuckwit greeks think they can jack up the rent super high and people will actually pay.

Instead you just have a turnover of people leaving because you can get better deals elsewhere.

ron s said...

Sad to hear. I know the place well and went there purposely to avoid HD and Lowes. It's not a bargain to drive to HD to save a few bucks if you can walk to a local store and save both time and gas and annoyance driving and parking. I wish the owner well--he is a very nice person--good health to you and good luck in the future.

ron s said...

Time to begin the betting pool on what replaces the neighborhood hardware store.

My entry:
The store is split in two = 1 cafe and 1 phone store.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Big box outlets like Home Depot put them out of business....that and ripoff rents. Small businesses will soon be fewer and fewer.

Anonymous said...

what was failed to mention was the landlord wants $16,000.00 a month for his new rent --

Chester the Dog said...

the poor guy, I have tried to shop in there for 20 years, never had anything worthwhile in stock. never brought in new items, I spoke with him a few weeks ago, he said after his hip operation, he is going to work at Home Depot. Full circle.

As to what replaces him, I hope not another fake Japanese eating place, or a salon. Perhaps, Albas, the pizza joint next door, can expand into there.

Anonymous said...

$16k per month for rent? The Apple Store in Midtown Manhattan doesn't even pay that!

Anonymous said...

16 grand is nothing. Wow! The ol Quartet Theater location on Northern Blvd. in east Flushing was renting to Genovese Drugs years ago for $60,000 per month. In some areas of Queens the rent is higher than Manhattan.