Since David’s Den clothing shop closed its temporary store at 403 Central Ave. about a month ago, building owner Rachael Elbaum has been looking for a new permanent tenant to move in.
“It’s a very good spot to have a business, because the store is in good condition and whoever moves in there can do very well,” said Elbaum, a Brooklyn resident who has owned the building for nearly 20 years. “There are a couple of schools right around there, so there’s a lot of traffic with people bringing their kids back and forth. There are some very active stores right there, which is good for a new tenant.”
Some positive features of the store include central air conditioning, a municipal parking lot right in back and a fully finished basement that the owner said is so nice it can be used as part of the store and not just for storage.
Many years back, the space was a Judaica store and then a Jewish book store. More recently, when the store became vacant, Elbaum rented it on a temporary basis to the owner of David’s Den, who used the storefront for about eight months as an outlet.
“It worked out okay to have the clothing store here for a while, but now I would like a long-range tenant,” said Elbaum, who is not using a real estate broker for the time being. “As far as rent, it will be reasonable, so it will work out well for both sides.”
While a couple of merchants on the block said that they would welcome another small independent store, which gives Cedarhurst its charm, others would like to see a few more high-profile brand stores return to the neighborhood, such as the Gap and even Starbucks. They feel that the quality of the stores in town are not of the same caliber as they used to be and it's hurting the business district's appeal.
Magda Berger, owner of PJ Sterling, said that the block could use a successful upscale store and that “we don’t need any more dollar stores.” The owner of Creative Effects advertising agency, who rents space on the second floor of Elbaum’s building, said she misses some of the quality stores that used to be a staple in Cedarhurst, such as Ann Taylor and Williams Sonoma.
“People move into these stores, but some of them don’t always last long,” said Anthony Livreri, owner of the Quorum salon. “And when they go, sometimes the stores sit empty for a long time. Maybe more stores like Banana Republic would draw more people here and help the everyone’s business.”
High taxes and rent could make prospective business owners leery about opening up in Cedarhurst, according to several merchants, including the owner of Sherel’s Hats and Accessories, who said that her $21,000 tax bill is extremely excessive. She also claims that overly aggressive meter maids are another problem for both customers and storeowners, who need to feed the meters all day to avoid getting a ticket.
Berger disagrees, stating that some drivers have been very rude to the meter maids, who are just trying to do their job.
But Elbaum only has positive things to say about the neighborhood and the business district.
“It’s just a lovely shopping area with pretty stores,” she said. “It makes it a very pleasant shopping experience on Central Avenue. ”