While commerce struggles on Myrtle Avenue in Upper Glendale, business owners are seeing potential on the avenue between 69th Street and Fresh Pond Road, an area that is home to some of Glendale’s oldest establishments.
And Sol Spa Salon Beauty, MetroPCS and learning supply store Teacher’s Choice Plus, are just some of the newer establishments that have set up shop in the last few years.
Included in that list is Forest Park Dental, which was once located at 80-15 Myrtle Avenue,but recently relocated to 69-45 Myrtle Avenue.
"We relocated because the doctor needed to expand his practice, because he was becoming more and more busy," said Linda Sabolboro, office manager and wife to dentist, Walter Sabolboro. Expansion included a bigger office and adding another hygienist to the schedule.
While the extra space was needed, Sabolboro said the location’s proximity to the Glendale Veterans Triangle at the intersection of Cooper and Myrtle avenues was also a key selling point.
"That made him feel that it was a central location for this area," Sabolboro said. "He really felt that it had more foot traffic, and he likes the neighborhood itself.”
Business on Myrtle Avenue starts to picks up around 71st street, with a Family Dollar and RX Pharmacy. For residents in the struggling area of 74th to 81st streets, these are the nearest Myrtle Avenue-facing shops where residents can purchase medicine and assorted items.
After Cooper Avenue the number of businesses surges, and within a two-block radius, are mom-and-pop stores mixed in with chain stores like McDonalds, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and 7-Eleven.
There is increased foot traffic and businesses and parking on both sides of the street, unlike the upper section of Myrtle Avenue, where only the north side features businesses and parking. The other side of the street is a cemetery.
The Glendale section of Myrtle Avenue is not covered by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), which covers Ridgewood stores from Fresh Pond Road to Wyckoff Avenue. There is yet to be bonafide support to either create a BID or expand the current one.
“The Department of Small Business Services, which runs the BID program citywide, would want to see support, substantial support, well over 50 percent from the businesses and/or property owners in whatever boundaries that they decide they want to do this [in]," said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue BID and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC).
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce has to poll business owners to determine whether they would willingly accept additional taxation for sidewalk cleaning, maintenance and similar services provided to shops within a BID, according to Vincent Arcuri Jr., chairman of Community Board 5.
Polling is set to take place once the Glendale Chamber of Commerce is reconstituted and fully operational, and Arcuri is not sure when that will be. If business owners were to decide on having a BID, it would be the RLDC’s role to help implement one, but there has yet to be a serious effort, according to Renz.
The only project the RLCD is currently involved in is the creation of a pedestrian plaza by the Glendale Veterans Triangle, which is a collaborated effort between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Design and Construction.
“The RLDC is the community partner that will be responsible for the overall maintenance and care of that plaza once its built,” said Renz.
Abundant in delis, Chinese takeout, pizzerias and services such as nail salons, law offices, doctor's offices and realtors, this section of Myrtle Avenue also contains Glendale’s most resilient businesses.
Business is still doing well for Zum Stammtisch, a German restaurant located at 69-46 Myrtle Avenue, which was founded 41 years ago to cater to the German community that heavily populated the area then.
"Business for us has luckily been stable because there are many people who live in this neighborhood that also enjoy German food, like Eastern Europeans and even other people who just want to come in and try German food,” said owner Werner Lehner.
He also noted the longevity of some of the establishments on his block.
“It’s just very stable, and it also becomes comfortable for the people who live here and work here when you always see the same stores,” he said.
Russo’s Bakery, an Italian bakery located at 69-11 Myrtle Avenue since 1994, is one business that hass seen a decrease in customers.
“Most of the customers that shop here would be Italian and most of them moved out, so we’re not as busy as before,” said Rosita Russo, store manager and relative to the owners of both the Glendale and Maspeth locations. “It’s also because of the economy, and it’s not only my business.”
For Coldwell Banker Kueber Realty, located at 67-13 Myrtle Avenue for 23 years, business is picking up due to an influx of interested home buyers, according to owner Debbie Kueber.
Kueber purchased the property itself 12 years ago, but noted the difficulty for business owners who rent instead. "Property owners seem to want an unrealistic price in their rent, and that's the problem: finding a good business to be able to thrive with all of the costs,” she said.
The average rent for retail stores in Glendale varies between $20 to $40 a square foot, according to CB5’s Arcuri. “If you have a business on Myrtle Avenue and the landlord is charging you $40 a square foot and you have 1,000 square feet, that’s $40,000 a year in rent," he said.
Kueber still believes her realty would have survived, even if she didn’t own the building. "I think my business would have lasted, because I'm very into the community,” she said. “I'm involved in all different organizations, so I know a lot of people.”
For Delta Flags Company, a 33-year old flag-making business that moved to 65-24 Myrtle Avenue 20 years ago, Glendale has been an ideal location.
“It’s a good area for the business,” said company president Fred Vaynman. “It’s a good area for transportation. It’s easy to access the subway, buses and highways, so this is a good location.”
Read the first article in this series - “Small business not down with Upper Glendale” - about the issues that are hurting small business on a different stretch of Myrtle Avenue.