Jan. 19, 2011 By Christian Murray
The owner of April Glass has decided to close her Queens Blvd store and seek new space due to hefty rent and a slowing economy.
Patrice Lee, who has operated April Glass at 44-09 Queens Blvd since 2003, said today that her Queens Blvd rent was too high to run a successful business.
Lee had been paying $4,700 a month in rent, prior to making her decision to relocate. She said her current landlord agreed to lower it to $4,000 after she made her decision, but the numbers still did not work.
“It was a tough decision to decide to move. I have been crying every day. I love this location. However, I have customers who tell me that they will follow me where ever I go which makes it easier.”
And Lee has no intention to leave Sunnyside. “I will be moving somewhere else in neighborhood and it will be a quick turnaround.”
Lee has already looked closely at a couple of places. She said she is looking for space that is visible to Queens Blvd where the rent is about $3,000 per month.
She said that landlords are asking for a lot in rent. For example, where Jennifer Accessories was located on Queens Blvd, the landlord seeks $3,000 in rent, and that is for a 400 sqf space.
Lee was paying $3,700 for her 1,000 sqf when she first moved in 2003 and it crept up from there.
However, in 2003, the economy was in much better shape and the recent downturn has put a dent in business. Sales were down 7% in 2010 compared to 2009—and were off 10-12% from the heydays of 2003-2004.
Several businesses on that Queens Blvd block (between 44th and 45th) have closed, from Rose Restaurant, Boost and the OTB. Meanwhile, Sonali, the Indian restaurant, has not been open for more than 2 months and most believe it is out of business.
Lee started her business in 1996 when she started to hand paint glass items in her Celtic Park apartment and sell them wholesale at showrooms. She then operated out of a small office in the Celtics and began dabbling in retailing, before making the move as a full-time retailer on Queens Blvd in 2003.
April Glass is scheduled to close January 31. She said she is selling items at a steep discount and that there are larger items for sale such as 3 desktop computers, heavy-duty shelves and ceiling fans.