March 22, 2019 By Christian Murray
A hardware store that has been on Queens Boulevard for 20-years is closing at the end of the month.
AAA Hardware Locksmith, located at 43-24 Queens Blvd., will be shutting its doors March 31 and is currently holding a 50 percent off sale.
“It’s time for me to retire,” said Eric Son, the owner of the store and a Whitestone resident. “I have owned it for 20 years and it’s getting hard to make money. Rents keep going up and the hardware business is tough.”
Son’s business is on a block that is undergoing transition.
The hardware store is one piece of a 9,500 square foot property that covers half the block, which incorporates stores such as Dave’s Bagels and Amazon Pharmacy. Riko Peruvian Cuisine had a storefront on that parcel, which closed last month.
The large property, comprised of a series of one-story stores, was purchased in May 2018 by OK Champs for $9.9 million, according to city records. The property was up-zoned in 2011 to R7A, which typically allows for seven to nine story buildings.
Son said that he wasn’t pushed out or given any incentives to leave. He just said the rent keeps going up and that he was struggling to make ends meet.
OK Champs has not filed for demolition permits or new building plans, according to the Department of Buildings website.
The managing partner of OK Champs, Sang K Oh, could not be reached for comment.