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Bay Ridge in chains

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bay Ridge businesses are being wrapped in chains, but local mom ’n’ pop shops don’t feel oppressed.

National bakery and coffee chain Panera Bread opened its first Ridge location on 86th Street and Gelston Avenue to great fanfare on Aug. 4, but local bakers and cafe owners aren’t worried that their new neighbor will slurp up their loyal clientele.

“I don’t think they will affect us in any way,” said Martyna Cieniewicz, a manager at the Mocha Mocha Coffee, which sells coffee and pastries just two blocks from the newly opened Panera on Fourth Avenue and 86th Street.

Another business owner said the quality of his product and his business practices keep people coming back, even if chains offer lower prices.

“I’m not worried,” said Joe Monaco Jr. of Monaco’s Bakery on Third Avenue and 85th Street. “I make all my stuff here, and we’re a family-owned business.”

The Bay Ridge Panera is Brooklyn’s third — the first opened in Kings Plaza Mall in late 2011 and a Downtown location fired up its ovens in early 2012. The Ridge restaurant employs 80 and is run by franchisee Doherty Enterprises, which operates 140 restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida, according to a press release from Panera.

More chains are on the way to the Ridge. Mexican-cuisine-inspired restaurant Chipotle and lingerie emporium Victoria’s Secret are slated to join this booming section of 86th Street, according to announcements from real estate firms Thor Equities and Massey Knakal.

Some locals worry the growing number of national outlets will dilute the neighborhood’s character, but others say the big names are a welcome addition and they lend gravitas to the neighborhood.

“Its like a step forward for Bay Ridge,” said resident Peter Loughlin, adding that 86th Street is looking more like parts of Manhattan these days. “We already have the Starbucks and numerous fast-food places, so it’s nice to have something like Panera where they take pride in what they do.”

Still others say they’ll stick with their local mom-and-pops.

“I don’t even know what Panera is,” said Dennis Jensen as he sipped coffee and chatted with workers at Your Baker, which sits directly across 86th street from the new Panera and adjacent to a Starbucks. “You come here and it’s ‘Hi Dennis, how’s your day?’ You get real people.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Bay Ridge is rich in small businesseses. I try to give these restaurants, hardware stores, bakeries, business whenever I can.

But yes, no need to look down our noses at chains like this, or to be afraid of them.

Panera has a quality product. I welcome them here.
Aug. 6, 2014, 12:40 pm
CSmithy from Bay Ridge says:
I think Bay Ridge has a sort of healthy balance of chains and small business, but I just hope it doesn't tip too far in one direction.
Aug. 18, 2014, 9:45 am

Comments closed.

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