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Red Hook Ikea tops them all

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Red Hook Ikea that opened last summer has already become the Swedish home furnishing company’s best location on the continent, Borough President Markowitz announced on Monday.

“It’s their top-selling store in North America,” the Beep boasted during an otherwise somber discussion of retail and industrial business at Borough Hall.

Ikea officials would not confirm Markowitz’s cheerleading, citing company policy not to reveal the performance of individual stores.

But the success of the blue-and-gold giant would fit with long-repeated accounts that the Target on Atlantic Avenue and Costco on Third Avenue are the king of their respective hills, too.

And it bolsters the argument from business groups and real-estate experts that the demand for shopping outlets in Brooklyn is not being met.

In 2006, a study from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce found that booming Brooklyn had less shopping space per capita than sluggish cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh.

“Brooklyn has been so desperately under-retailed for so long that when these big retailers finally get a location here, they’re a huge success,” said Ken Freeman, a senior sales director for Massey Knakal.

“The combination of the population density and the above-average income levels probably explains the success.”

Ikea’s apparent success is a vindication for the planners who said the remote location on Beard Street would hurt the sale of futons and Swedish meatballs.

It also props up the argument that the city should ease the way for more big-box retail in Red Hook — such as the BJ’s Wholesale Club that is proposed for the lot next door to Ikea.

Markowitz has long ascribed to the idea that Brooklyn needs more retail business and has wooed other big chains like Trader Joe’s and, so far, unsuccessfully tried to get Nordstrom to set up shop here.

He says big chains will create more jobs and reduce the number of Brooklynites who drive to malls outside the city.

Updated 5:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ken roth from Bklyn says:
I was the Broker for Ikea and Costco We need easier zoning regs
Feb. 26, 2009, 12:40 pm
Herb from Park Slope says:
"Reduce the number of Brooklynites who drive to Long Island and New Jersey malls"? How about all those who are "driven to" Manhattan? Let's do more to keep that business in Brooklyn. Big box stores with rock bottom prices can do that. In bad times, lower prices can be a big help to struggling families. Wal-Mart, anyone?
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:18 pm
Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Herb would be interested to read our prior editorial on Wal-Mart:

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/24/31_24_big_boxes_big_dreams.html

Thanks for reading

GERSH KUNTZMAN
Editor
The Brooklyn Paper
Feb. 26, 2009, 1:27 pm
Pat from Bay Ridge says:
I'm not against big box stores--look how well places like Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond and many others are doing in Manhattan--but I am very much opposed to the suburbanization of Brooklyn. Stores based on suburban models belong in the suburbs, not the center of Brooklyn.

PS. I like the idea of Wal-Mart on Fulton Street.

PPS. Any opportunity to parade that "Hookers to get BJ’s in a mall" title, eh? ;)
Feb. 26, 2009, 2:04 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
I was a fan Of IKEA, but I dissappointed. I was expecting traffic jams all over the Hook. What happen to all the predicted problems? Red Hook just isn't the same anymore.
Feb. 26, 2009, 2:32 pm
BobW from Bay Ridge says:
Pat from Bay Ridge says: "I am very much opposed to the suburbanization of Brooklyn. Stores based on suburban models belong in the suburbs, not the center of Brooklyn."

Except that "the center of Brooklyn" hasn't exactly thrived under the current (and longterm) model.
Sometimes you have to face reality.
Feb. 26, 2009, 2:34 pm
JVK from Downtown says:
Agree with the BP editorial cited above, at
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/24/31_24_big_boxes_big_dreams.html
which says in part -
"put a Target, JC Penney or Wal-Mart in an existing downtown, and you draw even more traffic to the merchants occupying the adjacent streets. Then, instead of killing Mom-and-Pop stores, they’d present the Mom and Pops with enlarged opportunities for profit."

Downtown, in Bklyn's "center," and in some other neighborhoods, we've just got duplicative small chainstores, or mom-&-pops that are barely making it, and don't serve as a major attractant.
Too many people seem to want some 19th-century or 1950s only-little-local-stores model - but it doesn't work anymore.
Feb. 26, 2009, 4:16 pm
Pat from Bay Ridge says:
Except that "the center of Brooklyn" hasn't exactly thrived under the current (and longterm) model.
Sometimes you have to face reality.

Which "reality" is that? To further kill any chance of major retail development in one of the densest urban cores in the country--easily accessible to all--by instead building suburban shopping malls in out-of-the-way locations like Red Hook and Gowanus that are easily accessible only to the less than 50% of residents who drive a car...? Brooklyn can do better than that.
Feb. 26, 2009, 11:07 pm
BobW from Bay Ridge says:
Pat says - "out-of-the-way locations like Red Hook and Gowanus that are easily accessible only to the less than 50% of residents who drive a car...?"

So those locations should keel over & go business-less ... even though Ikea/Costco couldn't possibly "fit" downtown, those stores bring spending and jobs, and those shoppers would otherwise end up in NJ or LI?
And the issue is "access to cars" - not just driving. Speaking as a non-car-owner: People go to Ikea and Costco to save on large or large-quantity goods. They don't go every day, or week, and will share/borrow a car or even take a car service home (and still come out ahead).
Feb. 27, 2009, 12:22 pm
Howie Hughes from Stapleton, S.I. says:
This has got to be the Swedish story ever told!
Feb. 27, 2009, 5:59 pm
Angie from Brooklyn says:
Ikea's the only place where people can get tons of housewares in one place, plus affordable furniture that they can live with - it won't last forever, but it's not total sleazy junk.
Feb. 28, 2009, 1:23 pm

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