March 27, 2017 By Christian Murray
Another small business is about to close in Sunnyside.
Happy Photo, which has been in business for the past 20 years and is located at 45-06 46th Street, will be shutting its doors for good at the end of the month, according to its owner.
The store– which offers custom framing, passport pictures and photos—has been owned by the current proprietor, Mr. Kim, for the past 16 years.
Kim said he is closing because it is too costly to operate his business. He said that he pays about $6,500 per month in rent and then there are other expenses, such as BID fees– assessed by Sunnyside Shines– that are more than $1,000 per year.
“The customer pays me and the money just goes straight to the landlord,” he said. “It is just a money transfer to the landlord.”
While Sunnyside Shines tries to promote the neighborhood, retail store owners– such as Mr. Kim– say they don’t benefit from the $1,000-plus fees.
The retailers claim that the BID’s attention is focused on restaurants– on events such as Taste of Sunnyside and Sunnyside Restaurant Week– and they get very little in return. The majority of the 300 businesses in the BID area are retailers or service providers.
However, Kim did concede that changing technology and customer habits have put a dent in business. For instance, people don’t print out their photos like in the past.
Happy Photo is in a section of Sunnyside where the number of vacant stores is starting to mount. The bank next door, First Central Savings Bank, closed its Sunnyside branch in October, and H&J Asian Carrier, a retail store located around the corner at 45-11 Greenpoint Avenue closed in September.
Meanwhile, Radio Shack located at 45-02 Queens Blvd. will be soon closing.