The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Flatbush Merchant's Association - Take the Survey!

First off, just do it. The survey takes like no time at all. It's desperately needed to get the Merchant's Association along the Flabenue off the ground for real. It's called FEPMA, and it's been on life support for many years. Let's revive it, folks. It's the first step towards a thriving commercial corridor, and I KNOW from the dozens of comments recently that this is vitally important to the vast majority of you. A survey is not much to ask, is it? Pretty please?


Btw, the Pratt Area Community Council is involved now, and that's a big, big plus. They know how to do this stuff, and are consulting with the current FEPMA leaders, to do this thing right.


Here's the whole story from Delroy Wright,



Dear Community Leader:

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Pratt Area Community Council (PACC). PACC is a local non­profit organization that has served the central Brooklyn community for 49 years by developing and managing affordable housing opportunity and by providing direct technical assistance to small businesses. PACC has been very successful in its commercial revitalization initiative for over 15 years. One of PACC’s prominent successes in merchant organizing is the formation of the Fulton Area Business (FAB) Association now called the FAB Alliance Business Improvement District, a public­private partnership that provides extensive supplementary services such as increased sanitation, security, and marketing to the Fulton Street corridor.

With that said, we have asked PACC to initially lead with our initiative to formally organize a merchants association that will work to create a vibrant commercial corridor along Flatbush Avenue. A primary mission of the association will be to strategically plan ways to support the quality businesses and to compliment the current retail mix along Flatbush Avenue. The merchants association will also be instrumental in addressing our neighborhood concerns such as vacancy, foot traffic and littered sidewalks. To further stimulate the development of Flatbush Avenue, the Flatbush Empire Parkside MerchantsAssociation (FEPMA) in collaboration with PACC is now conducting a Commercial Needs Survey.

The Flatbush Avenue Commercial Needs Survey is designed to assess local residentsshopping experiences on Flatbush Avenue and gather their input on what types of businesses are needed/wanted in this area. Simply, this survey will assist in determining what residents enjoy in the neighborhood as well as determine what is lacking. The survey will also help FEPMA and PACC appropriately recruit businesses.

This survey can be found by clicking on the link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YFCC9NC. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete. So please take a moment to read each question carefully and answer to the best of your ability for your entire household. Thank you for your time!
Sincerely, 

Delroy Wright
Interim President of FEPMA

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was all over this survey like white on rice !

Rudy on Winthrop said...

May I run a parallel survey, Q? What does everyone think of the street fair that FEPMA holds each year? The one where they shut down Flatbush, from Parkside to Lincoln?

Coyly, I leave my own opinion unstated.

babs said...

So glad PACC is getting involved here! They've made great things happen in Fort Greene -Clinton Hill. Now if they could only come over to Rogers Ave as well. I'd love to see a "Rolling Up the Gates" event on both strips showcasing available storefronts as PACC does regularly over there.

I think, however, that the top five concerns will be pretty much the same from all responders.

Anonymous said...

I think first address the insane speeding and noise of the heavy traffic on Rogers and then work on bringing cute shops and cafes there. Glad PACC is involved. Improving Fulton area is good too, that place is even worse than our stretch of Flatbush. Everybody in Brooklyn wherever they live will benefit from a focus on improving the whole stretch of Flatbush Ave.

Anonymous said...

About the street fair FEPMA holds, it needs much much improvement. It's crazy loud and just isn't fun.

Mapletree House said...

The survey was an eye-opener. For a small household (2 and half adults) we spend almost ALL our budget outside the neighborhood: Fairway in Red Hook, Trader Joes, Target and occasional forays to Whole Foods or Union St. Mkt. The only neighborhood merchants we use on Flatbush are the dry cleaner, OJs, the show repair, and Trixies Pet Store. We are as likely to visit downtown Brooklyn or Prospect Heights for a drink as we are to drop into Lincoln Park Tavern. I am not much interested in "cute shops" but the diversity of the PLG neighborhood is not reflected in the commercial sector. {PS - Something must be done to calm the ROGERS AVE RACEWAY}

JDB said...

I am certainly for cute shops but if I had to choose I would much rather have a bank and a decent dry cleaner.

If you have kids or buy things for other people's kids, it doesn't get much cutter than Playkids.

Anonymous said...

Same here, I listed a bank and a gym not cute shops. Play Kids is amazing, they work really hard to get new stuff all the time and I have no needs for kid toys outside of them. But we'll miss Monk's Trunk for kid clothes! Sigh. Wish somebody would snap up the perfectly located for kids business space that was open near Play Kids before and put kids new and consignment clothing there. For gifts for women, Tafari Tribe on Flatbush has costume jewelry, accessories, and clothing like embroidered cotton dresses and tunics from India. For basic, work and special event clothing for men and women nobody shops in Park Slope for those pieces so much as in the big stores in Manhattan. If one of these stores offered nice cards and gift wrapping paper and bags and ribbon that would be great. That's something I've often gone out searching in the drug stores and dollar stores frantically for with not a lot of success.

Anonymous said...

Flower shop, greeting cards, bank, gym, Thai food, Burger restaurant (bare burger?) ice cream or frozen yogurt shop, good sushi and Chinese, wine bar, sit down American, cheese and charcuterie shop.

And I think some shops like Goldie & Mac, Area Kids and brooklyn industries would be great too.

disco princess said...

Re: The survey was an eye-opener. For a small household (2 and half adults) we spend almost ALL our budget outside the neighborhood: Fairway in Red Hook, Trader Joes, Target and occasional forays to Whole Foods or Union St. Mkt. The only neighborhood merchants we use on Flatbush are the dry cleaner"
I spend the majority of my money outside of the neighborhood too, including at almost all the stores mentioned above. (Union St Market is too expensive.) I patronize the dry cleaner (when I actually get around to putting stuff in), the Wholesome Gourmet, and that is pretty much it.

I'm not seeing any of those aforementioned stores coming here, but maybe more small, independent stores are key.

msbossyrossy said...

I think a radio shack would be a good in the pinch addition but also independent good restaurants ala Vanderbilt or Franklin Ave. I suggested a bikram yoga studio. A Bank would be a great addition...TD or HSBC perhaps.

msbossyrossy said...

I think a radio shack would be a good in the pinch addition but also independent good restaurants ala Vanderbilt or Franklin Ave. I suggested a bikram yoga studio. A Bank would be a great addition...TD or HSBC perhaps. Wholesome Food was a HUGE miss. It is a dressed up bordega.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

A TD Bank is being built on Bedford just above Empire. Radio Shack's bit farther south - Flatbush below Church - but it's an easy walk or B41 ride. Most things you would need from Radio Shack can be bought all over - discount stores have cords and adapters, cell phone stores have phones, there are even electronics stores all over for stereo stuff. Computers at Staples (again a short walk down Flatbush).

There's a Chase bank ATM at the Duane Reade on Flatbush at Parkside, for those who bank Chase. They shut down my HSBC on Caton, and that was a bummer, especially because that building is so beautiful and could probably house something cool for the savvy developer.

disco princess said...

Re: Wholesome Food was a HUGE miss. It is a dressed up bordega.

I don't Wholesome Food is a huge miss. I like that it is an upscale bodega. At the very least it is open 24 hours, and I can walk into it and select what I am going to buy after hours (as opposed to having to order through a window). Besides, what other bodega in the area carries the same type of merchandise?

I agree with Q re: Radio Shack; there is one not too far outside of the catchement near the Staples on Flatbush. Speaking of Staples, maybe something like that can come into the area.

Even if these stores were to come in, will there be enough of a client base to keep them open or will they go the way of the Blue Roost and K-Dog?

The Pomidor Cafe never even opened on the corner of Flatbush and Midwood.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I hear people complain that there's no Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or Fairway in walking distance, but people all over Brooklyn could complain about the same thing. That's not specific to this neighborhood. Ask someone in Sunset Park or Midwood or Bed-Stuy or large parts of P-Heights/Crown Heights. Same deal.

And here's something that might provoke controversy...why not the Park Slope Food Coop? I hear people complain about the onerous work requirement of 2 3/4 hours per month, or the lines (which are really not a problem if you shop with savvy). I'd argue that all the time you spend driving to those other stores probably puts you on par for time spent. There's even a Lefferts coop getting off the ground, and CSA's on Lincoln Road and Flatbush church. No options? Really?

Small specialty stores would be a big plus, but I also hear people complain that their prices are too high (Union Market, Green Grape Provisions, Larder), and so they end up driving to the bigger stores that have bigger buying power. People looking for an incredible butcher by the way, need only go to Nostrand for Michael's...hands down the best I've found anywhere

It seems hard to please everyone. As someone who's lived through many stages of Brooklyn and many neighborhoods of Brooklyn, I would attest that we have an amazing array of options, with a small few key exceptions. A single restaurant that meets today's choosy customer, and a single specialty store, could go a long way to satisfying that need. Why not go to your favorites and talk up the 'hood? If there's real money to be made, I'm sure they'll consider it. But none of that's going to happen until the neighborhood deals with trash and gangs. Who wants to open shop in a filthy, shady environment?

I used to joke that I could live an entire lifetime within a three block radius and never wont for much. I still feel that way. But there's room for growth and diversity, no question about it.

Anonymous said...

Wholesome Foods might be snootily dismissed as a "dressed up bodega" for those who have cars and can get their basic grocery items far more easily than we who don't have cars. Fabulous specialty gourmet stores are lovely of course but we ourselves would be 100% against having one of those here without yet having a grocery that's clean, new and mostly well stocked with good basics like Wholesome Foods is. Just wouldn't help us at all in our daily lives. Glad Wholesome Foods is there. Now that it is the complainers can spearhead the effort to find the fabulous expensive cheese market of their dreams and bring it here.

MadMommaCarmen said...

Funny, it never occurred to me to suggest more places to get food around here. My suggestion was for a community center. Nothing big and fancy, but it sure would be nice if the building where Phat Albert is housed could offer our young people something more to do than hang around and get into trouble.

disco princess said...

Hi, Q!

Re: "And here's something that might provoke controversy...why not the Park Slope Food Coop? I hear people complain about the onerous work requirement of 2 3/4 hours per month, or the lines (which are really not a problem if you shop with savvy)."

I made a comment on another post that people can also go to the Flatbush Food Coop. It's right near the Cortelyou Road stop and you don't even have to be a member to shop there, unlike at the Park Slope Food Coop. I shop there myself. (Now with the construction, one would have to take the Q to Newkirk or walk to Newkirk to make one's way northbound, but it still wouldn't take too long to get there.) I think it is closer to what people were hoping to find in Wholesome Gourmet.

Union Market's prices are even higher than those at Whole Foods; I wonder whether there is enough of a clientele here to keep it open. Replicating something like the Flatbush Coop here seems like a more realistic goal. I've seen a variety of people shop there so it might be worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

Flatbush Coop where you don't HAVE to be a member is the model some including me, were trying to get the PLG food coop to become years ago when that effort started. I agree it's a much more appropriate store to recreate for PLG than Union Market. Union Market is too expensive for us and we're not low income residents.

babs said...

Food prices at the Flatbush Food Co-op are the same as or higher than surrounding conventional grocery stores. Even with the member discount, should you choose to join, it's not all that different. The idea of a co-op where all members work is to provide the absolute lowest prices to make healthy food affordable to everyone.

"I'm too busy," or, "My schedule is too unpredictable," are not valid excuses for not working - there are a variety of jobs that can be done at home, on whatever hours work for you. You don't have to physically come to the co-op for your shift. You don't have to do it during store hours, and you don't even have to do it all in one chunk - as long as you total up the minimum over the four week period you're fine.

And we're almost there! We have a storefront, and have had limited shopping hours. Our first membership drive will kick off this fall. Sign up to be notified of this and all other events by filling out the information sheet at www.leffertsfoodcoop.org.

To me, as a PSFC member, the tradeoff of 2 hours and 45 minutes of my time every four weeks is well worth what I get in terms of ultra-fresh produce (delivered directly from the distributor and not passing through Hunt's Point, as does conventional grocery store produce), a vast selection of healthy food, and the amazingly low prices on most items, as well as the spirit of community that I get with my fellow co-operators.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Babs: I'd argue that it's actually FUN too. But I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority there...

Different strokes for different folks.

Different steeples for different peoples...and different hummus for different humans...ouch, that didn't quite work did it...

babs said...

I'm with you on that one, too, Q - I very much enjoy my shift (food processing) and really like people on my squad. I didn't mention the fun aspect, but that is certainly an added bonus!