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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Small stores undaunted by big chains

By Maya Rajamani
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Olivia Khemraj, 38, a worker at Real Steal at 5546-5548 Broadway, not far from the new mall set to open this week.

When Petland manager Orlando Marrero heard the news that a Petco was set to arrive at the new mall at 230th and Broadway, not far from his store at 5550 Broadway, he was unfazed. 

“It doesn’t feel like they’re going to affect us at all,” he said as he took inventory on Aug. 15. “If anything, they’re going to bring more people to the location.” 

While malls are often harbingers of financial woes for smaller businesses, merchants on Broadway are optimistic that two large shopping centers opening on Broadway over the coming weeks will draw more shoppers to the area rather than stymie their businesses. 

Riverdale Crossing, located at Broadway and 237th Street, will be anchored by a BJ’s Wholesale Club outlet and include a number of other regional and nation chain stores. Broadway Plaza at Broadway and 230th Street is set to house a Party City, a TJ Maxx, a Sports Authority and an Aldi supermarket. Party City opened on Aug. 15. 

Katherine Broihier, district manager of the Kingsbridge Business Improvement District, said it is likely too early to tell how the malls will affect Broadway’s stores, though she speculated that people who come for the malls might stay for the mom-and-pop shops next door. 

“This is a new thing for us. We’re just a little shopping community. We’ve been here forever, and all of a sudden we’ve got two new malls,” Ms. Broihier said. 

She added that when the Target on West 225th Street opened, there was concern that merchants on Broadway would be affected. 

“It was true for six months or so, but you go up and down the street now and the same stores are here. It’s not like whole swaths of the neighborhood closed up shop,” she said. 

Broadway boasts a number of discount stores, such as Real Steal Value. While the store offers party wares along with school uniforms and variety store finds, employee Olivia Khemraj, 38, said she felt a Party City moving into the neighborhood would help her business. 

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