Everything must go at a sidewalk sale for the Art Fun Studio in Bay Ridge. It’s a mom and pop business that decided to close its doors, just short of its fifth anniversary.
"For small business, we can't receive any help and support and that's why, for now, we can't pay our rent,” said owner Alla Baksanskaya.
Rent is $2,400 a month, but with the premises closed since March because of the coronavirus, the owner said she can no longer carry the expense.
She used her space to host art classes, birthday parties and school trips.
"We can't make it anymore”, said Baksanskaya, the owner. “We can't continue to organize all of our school trips in September. We don't know the condition for school and what it will be."
So soon this will be another empty storefront in the neighborhood. Two other art studios on Third Avenue already shuttered.
“For lease” and “for sale” signs dot the retail corridor. Many of the brick-and-mortar stores were already under pressure from click-and-deliver online shopping. But then the pandemic made their future even bleaker.
"Many of our merchants depended on walk-in business,” said President of the Merchants of Third Avenue Robert Howe. “They were not really online. So they couldn't morph into that sort of online business. They really need people to walk along and stroll along Third Avenue and come in and buy things and interact with them."
Some restaurants along the strip didn't survive. Howe said, without indoor dining, expect more of the same.
"Once the restaurants start closing in October — the outside dining — they're just going to close,” said Howe. “They just can't jump from November until April with no business whatsoever."
Howe predicts empty restaurant and retail spaces will be vacant for some time as demand will remain low.
Over at Art Fun Studio, there was some demand for the soon to be discarded artwork. As well as some nostalgia.
"We lost another beautiful store in Brooklyn,” said one resident.
The owner said she will move the business online, although with no personal interaction, the creative energy will be hard to recreate.
She hopes when the COVID-19 crisis passes, she can reopen somewhere in the neighborhood. But not every businesses will return.