The owner of a soon-to-open Ditmas Park cafe says he will channel the spirit of the infamous Vox Pop — and give a new home to its Marxist clientele — even though it will be run by a capitalist.
Josh Rubin, a 29-year-old Rhode Island transplant, thinks his as-yet-unnamed café for progressive thinkers, which will open sometime in May on the corner of Newkirk Avenue and Westminster Road, won’t end up in the red like the ill-fated Cortelyou Road cooperative.
“Vox Pop was grossly mismanaged and it went bankrupt many times,” said Rubin. “But there is a clientele waiting in the wings [that needs to be served].”
The often-closed coffee shop Rubin hopes to emulate became a neighborhood parable on how to not run a business when it closed last September because of massive debt.
To avoid a similar fate, Rubin says he’ll keep costs down by manning the counter himself.
“[For it to work] you have to love something and want to do it all the time,” he said.
Still, he won’t be making his fortune on the back of the working man, claiming he’ll retain the progressive proclivities of Vox Pop when it comes to compensation to his staff.
“I’m going to pay my workers a living wage,” he said.
Rubin had hoped to open a shop on the now Vox Pop-less Cortelyou Road, but an influx of new cafes there had him head further behind the so-called iron curtain of Brooklyn.
His new space, which sits across from PS 217 on the corner of Newkirk Avenue and Westminster Road, was a popular diner in the 1950s and ’60s, but has hosted a slew of other failed businesses since. It was empty for the last 18 months while the building’s co-op board vetted a slew of pitches for the place.
The board offered to front the bill for construction costs because it was so impressed with Rubin’s pitch, according to Jan Rosenberg, the real estate agent who broker the deal.