Feb. 5, By Christian Murray
The owner of a Queens Blvd thrift shop that is closing this week said he has not given up on Sunnyside.
Alaa El Mihdawy, who has run “One of a Kind Thrift Shop” at 45-05 Queens Blvd for the past 20 years, said that he is searching for new space in Sunnyside while he also opens a new store in Astoria this month.
El Mihdawy said the main reason he is closing his Queens Blvd store is that the rent is too high. “It was $7,000, including real estate taxes,” he said, adding that the rent kept creeping up 5% each year.
“That’s a big nut to carry,” he said.
El Mihdawy, however, is reluctant to leave Sunnyside and has plans to open another store in the neighborhood.
“I have built a lot of close friends over the years,” he said. “It’s like I have family here.”
The Queens Blvd store was best known for its selection of books that were placed out front, which often featured subjects such as cooking and philosophy. Inside, shoppers often sought leather jackets and vintage clothing.
El Mihdawy said he is looking for space on 43rd Avenue and other sections of Queens Blvd—since there are already two thrift shops on Greenpoint Ave.
He said he looked at the space where the Meat Boutique was located but was disappointed to find that the rent was similar to what he is paying now.
El Mihdawy, meanwhile, is expected to open a 5,000 sqf. space on Ditmars Blvd/31st Street in two weeks. He did not disclose what his new rent is.