Jan. 9, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
One of the six Queens Boulevard businesses that was destroyed in the massive five-alarm fire last month has already found a new place to call home right in the neighborhood.
Better Line Hardware, once located off Queens Boulevard on 45th Street, will be reopening about two blocks away at 43-24 Greenpoint Ave. by the end of the month.
Roy Ramlall, who has owned the hardware store since 1993, said he found the corner site, once home to Greenpoint Grill, just two days after the Dec. 13 fire.
Ramlall, 50, and his three employees began working on fixing up the shop last Thursday, with about one-fourth of their shelves stocked so far.
The new store will retain its name, and will also carry the same line of products and offer the same services to customers.
The hardware store had been located at the 45th Street site since 1990, and saw a steady stream of customers in its 28-year run there.
Ramlall, who bought the business from the prior owner three years later, said it was actually a customer who called him in the early morning hours of the fire to tell him about the store.
“I was shocked,” Ramlall said. “But I just sat on my bed—and went back to bed because there was nothing I could do.”
“It’s burning,” he added. “I can’t come over here. What am I gonna do, just look at that?”
But Ramlall eventually went to the site after waking at 5 a.m., only to find the charred remains of his business.
“Everything was gone,” he said.
The new corner store is about the same size as the prior location, with Ramlall estimating that every inch of the shop, from floor to ceiling, will be stocked just like the arrangement of the former store.
Ramlall, a Guyanese native who lives in Jamaica, said the Greenpoint Avenue location marks the third move for the hardware store.
The shop, he said, had been located at the corner of 41st Street and Queens Boulevard, now the site of a TD Bank, since 1939 before it moved to 45th Street in 1990.
Ramlall worked for the prior owner of the hardware store during his college years before eventually buying the business from him.
Apart from Better Line Hardware, the UPS store that was also destroyed in the fire is inching closer to opening back up as a pop-up store in the area.
Tony Tang, who opened the UPS store in 2009, told the Sunnyside Post that he is working out a deal with a Queens Boulevard landlord for a store near his prior location.
Tang did not provide specifics just yet on where the store might go, but said that the deal would likely go through this weekend. He added that the store would require permissions from UPS corporate before it opens.
Other business owners impacted by the fire have also indicated their interest in reopening nearby, including Bryan Chunton, who owns Zen Yai.
Fire relief efforts, meanwhile, are ongoing. Sunnyside Shines, which has led fundraising and other organizing events, launched a week-long online charity auction on Jan. 4 to raise money for those impacted by the fire.
Auction items include entertainment tickets, a golf outing, a dinner cruise, YMCA membership and more.