You are reading

Hardware Store on Skillman Closes As Rent Increases and Business Wanes

Photo: QueensPost

July 21, 2013 By Bill Parry

A popular Skillman Ave. hardware store is going out of business at the end of the month

Step by Step (50-14 Skillman Ave.) ends a 20-year run when its lease expires on July 31st. “I just can’t make the numbers work anymore,” said owner Erica Sim adding, “I’m just giving up.”

Sim said she tried to sell the business but found no interest. “Nobody wanted to buy it because of the rent,” she said.

The rent is currently more than $5,000 per month and would have risen had she renewed. Furthermore, the hardware business is not as strong as in the past.

Sim said she has no ill will toward the landlord about the rent. “I’m not mad at her because she has to make money too, that’s the new economy,” Sim said. Sim said that over the years she was able to make enough money to send three children to private schools and two to college.

Sim said she will miss Sunnyside and the residents of the Berkeley Towers and The Phipps in particular. “They’ve been great friends over the years and I’ll miss hanging out with them. Some of them cry when they hear we’re closing down.”

Sims, who lives in Flushing, said that she will retire when the store finally closes.

The store’s entire inventory, including power tools, is for sale at a 40% discount.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

i am very sad to see this store close….they have always been so helpful and friendly and i was always able to find whatever item i needed. i really can’t stand home depot with their long lines, staff who are often less than knowlegable or nowhere to be found… was nice going to a small friendly neighborhood store and pay reasonable prices….who knows what we’ll be stuck with now.


Julie J – That is the worst idea ever. We don’t need politicians to get involved. It’s very simple, if there is a demand for salons, they will continue to thrive. They will reach a balancing point, just like the 99 cents store that actually closed (May 2012 I believe). Have new ones opened since?


I love this store. I am very sad. The manager is a former marine (actually, you are always a marine). I feel awful about this. This was the go to place for certain needs. I guess we will see another hair cutting/nail salon? SICK OF WHAT IS GOING ON!!!!


99c cent stores can afford the high rents because of the sweet profit margins they face, cheap labor cost,and lack of competition from vertically integrated big box marts. They do not compete with each other and are more profitable than unionized price takers: grocery stores et al. Their profits are better because they are selling in a mixed income neighborhood like sunnyside. Suppliers compete for their business and they face robust year over year profits once established.
Another 99c store is bad for the community in so many ways… but i digress…


Very sad to see them go. It’s been my first stop for any hardware needs.
Now let’s see how long the space stays vacant, like the space on the northwest corner of Skillman and 49th.

What is the incentive for keeping a store vacant rather than renting it out for what a retailer can realistically afford? How can a building owner claim a tax deduction for a business loss if no one can pay the rent he’s asking for? That tells me he’s over valued his property. Is it the property tax that’s causing this?


now you watch another 99 cent store will go there and how are they going to pay that kind of rent — how does any 99 cent store pay these big rents anyway!!!!

Marilyn S.

Yes, I’m very sorry too. The staff was always very helpful and they stocked some uselful items I will have trouble finding as conveniently elsewhere.

Too bad.


Sorry to see you go .. Always was able to find those little needs
without having to run to Home Depot.
Happy Retirement ..


I’m so sorry this store is going out of business! It’s my go to hardware store and they have always been really helpful every time I was there. I will definitely miss it — there aren’t really any other nearby alternatives.


I like the one on 45th (?) across from Wendy’s, but it’s fun to go to Home Depot and wander around for a couple hours.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

New York Hall of Science awarded federal funding for project on artificial intelligence

New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) will play a key role in the future of artificial and natural intelligence after U.S. Rep. Grace Meng announced that the institution in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has been awarded nearly a half-million dollars in federal funding from the National Science Foundation over the next five years.

NYSCI will be part of a $20 million initiative led by Columbia University to establish an AI Institute for Artificial and Natural Intelligence (ARNI), an interdisciplinary center that will bring together several top research institutions to focus on a national priority: connecting the major progress made in AI systems to the revolution in understanding the brain.