For the restauranteur on your shopping list, how 'bout a place already set up for cookin'? People's Choice, nee Exquisite, won't set you back too terribly much, and talk about visibility and foot traffic. And that's not all.There's actually a dozen spots that I counted just tonight, within three blocks of my beloved Q at Parkside. One cool potential development is that the deceased colorful "Flatbush Fashion" might just get my fave balloonists (Kupid's Korner) as new tenants, if the terms are sweet. [Btw, the supremely sketchy bodega at the corner of Winthrop and Flatbush is outa biz, but don't be expecting a boulangerie to sprout in its place. Workers told me it's going to be another bodega, though potentially one with actual goods to sell.]
Word to the Entrepreneurial Wise: From what I've been able to gather from merchants, you should definitely not be put off by initial price quotes from landlords and managing agents. Once negotiations begin in earnest, you can expect to extract more and more lenient terms, and if haggling isn't your strong suit you could always hire a professional haggler. (Actually, they're usually called lawyers, not hagglers, but just try getting someone to pay $50,000 per annum to go to Haggle School.) If you can't talk the owner down to something within the realm of sanity, it frankly wasn't meant to be. But one shopkeep after another that I've spoken to has bragged to me how much they were able to shave off the initial asking price, even gaining a couple months rent-free to get up to speed, for instance.
Despite all my goofiness, I'm not being facetious in the least when I say that I was heartbroken to learn that Don's hardware store is no more (Glenn was the store's actual name, and oddly Peter was Don's OTHER name, which is apparently typical in Jamaica, the having of more than one name). Since moving to Clarkson ten years ago, I've counted on Don to give me advice on a million little home repair problems. I'm just not that handy, see, and he was always quick with a smile and patient lesson in how to screw this and screw that. He was my bike guy, my lock guy, my shovel and salt and winterizer guy, my main man in all things home-sweet-home. Don, er, Peter, I'll miss you, and I only hope you're going to retire and lay on the beach in your native Jamaica. But something tells me you've just moved on to your next gig, working your ass off, whatever and wherever that may be. Godspeed, sir! You were always good to me, and I'll never forget that.