It’s a sign of the old times!
A model company in Bushwick has launched a kit that lets Brooklyn’s nostalgia-gripped masses get over the heart-wrenching loss of the beloved Kentile Floors sign in Gowanus by selling a mini version you can make at home.
The founders of Boundless Brooklyn in Bushwick say their new Kentile Floors model will help stricken customers get over the unceremonious dismantling of the sign, which touted a long-closed manufacturer of asbestos-laden flooring, in June.
“It was important to us that if the sign wasn’t around to see, we at least could honor that it was important for a lot of other people,” said David Shulman, one of the company’s two heads. “This is a small way of saying it is still there.”
With emphasis on small: the Kentile model stands just eight inches tall, or about one-100th of the actual sign’s size — based on our own, unmathematical calculations (look, we eyeballed it).
But when it comes to sales, it appears size doesn’t really matter.
Demand for the Kentile model exploded when word of its demise hit the internet, according to Shulman, who said they swiftly sold out and are now on back order.
And it’s not just Brooklynites who are eating up the industrial-chic decorations.
Shulman said Boundless sells its products in 70 stores nationwide and even has a sales representative in Brooklyn-crazy Japan.
He claimed one Kentile model is currently on its way to a far-flung buyer in Taiwan.
Shulman grew up in Florida but became familiar with the Kentile sign on childhood visits to his grandfather in Windsor Terrace.
He said the models have been popular with Brooklyn expatriates around the country.
“People want to remember where they come from,” he said.
The company may be cashing in on borough pride, but is rooted here.
Both Shulman and his business partner Terence Arjo are longtime residents, and Arjo manufactures the models in a workshop in Bushwick.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce included the company on the first round of its list of certified “Brooklyn Made” brands.
A new model of another iconic Brooklyn image is in the works, according to Shulman, but he declined to divulge what exactly it will be.
He said he likes the idea of continuing with a line of now-defunct rooftop signs, but copyright issues may put some popular icons — such as the Domino Sugar sign — off limits.