Thursday, October 8, 2009
Merchant Perspective: Irene LoRe, Aunt Suzie's Restaurant
In the coming weeks and months, we hope to bring you brief interviews of merchants along Park Slope's Fifth Avenue. After all, who knows All About Fifth like the store, restaurant and bar owners along the the avenue?
Our first interview: Irene LoRe, Owner of Aunt Suzie's Restaurant and Executive Director of the new Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.
As a merchant what do you appreciate about Fifth Avenue?
I appreciate the fact that Fifth Avenue is mostly small, mom and pop businesses. It has quaint shops that have both character and personality. Big box stores, like those generally found outside the city, have no charm or uniqueness. They're nationally envisioned and don't reflect the local community. I have been in business on 5th for over 20 years and feel that we are an integral part of the neighborhood.
As a merchant how would you like to see Fifth Avenue improved?
Unfortunately the vacancy rate is going up and that is never good for a commercial strip. I would like to see more unique and fun retail shops open on 5th. In terms of stores, I would like to see a bookstore on Fifth Avenue. I think it would do well and would be a great addition to the avenue. It would also be great to have a municipal lot here. I think that would bring more customers to the area. Local bus transportation is slow and erratic. A bus that looped around Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue from Flatbush to Eighteenth Street would go along way in making the neighborhood easier to get around.
What are the biggest challenges facing a Fifth Avenue business?
Staying alive (laughs). Frequently reinventing yourself is the only way to stay in business. You have to face what comes straight on and find ways to push back at a bad economy.