New York, NY – 10 Below, Michael Tamir’s store on Broadway and 101st Street, is about to close bringing job losses to the neighborhood in some very personal ways.
Over the past three decades, Tamir has operated 32 retail outlets across the five boroughs. Most did okay, he says. And although some locals cynically believe the “Final Sale” signs in front of the Broadway and 101st Street store are just to draw in customers – the store really is only open until a new tenant is found.
“We are one of the last Mom and Pop stores in Manhattan,” Tamir says. “I know the distributors and now they no longer distribute into Manhattan. A lot of people today overpay online with shipping and handling. It’s called ‘tunnel vision.’”
In addition to battling virtually insurmountable competition from the online retail world, Tamir says he’s had to contend with other problems that customers don’t know anything about — like the $6,000 fine he was recently issued for simply putting up a canvas sign displaying the name of his 101st Street store. A sign for Sterling Optical, a previous tenant at the same location, remains on view — leading to all kinds of confusion which has been bad for business.
We are one of the last Mom and Pop stores in Manhattan — Michael Tamir, 10 Below
Tamir fought the fine and eventually won — but the episode serves as a further example of the often Byzantine battles forcing many area retailers to close up shop and toss people out of work.
Further down Broadway, the Price Wise store, a neighborhood favorite, is also closing. David, a retail worker who’s been at the store for nearly 10 years, says the outlet is closing for good at the end of the month and he’ll also be out of a job.
“It’s too bad,” David says, relating how other business on the block, including Biscuits and Bath, and even a Wells Fargo, are also on the chopping block. “A big corporation is building here,” he says. “This store, the nail spa, Biscuits and Bath, we are all going.”
Closing soon signs may draw in customers, “They’ll notice if there are even lower prices,” Tamir says, but – ultimately, the community loses.
Many area resident are expressing their displeasure. One of them recently told an Upper West Side news outlet, “I feel bad for these shops that are closing. The rents get increased so high. There’s so much competition with nearby shops. The new shops cropping up will also face very high rent costs. I really wish them the best. Greedy landlords has [sic] no sympathy on people trying to make a living.” Another writer issued this plea: “Someone in government, please fix the rent problem so the UWS stops looking like some post-apocalyptic wasteland!”