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Ann Taylor outlet latest in Fulton Mall’s big-brand takeover

Bargain stretch: Ann Taylor will soon open a factory store on Fulton Mall and Jay Street.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

It is a chain reaction.

Women’s clothier Ann Taylor is opening a factory outlet store on Fulton Mall, leaving some local shoppers nostalgic for the unique mom and pop shops that once lined the strip now dominated by discounted versions of big-name national brands.

“It’s good and all but I remember all the small stores that used to be here for awhile and now the big stores are taking over,” said Flatbush resident Jakeem Jolly.

The ladies’ fashion label is launching a huge new budget store called Ann Taylor Factory at the corner of Jay Street, according to a Real Deal report — joining other low-priced incarnations of national names including Gap Outlet, Nordstrom Rack, and F21 Red, which have flocked to the strip amidst Downtown’s rapid gentrification.

The fashion is cheap, but the real estate isn’t. The bustling strip once known as black America’s Main Street has always boasted high rents — even when it was a hotbed of crime in the 1980s and ’90s — but its booming popularity with major retailers means many independent hawkers can no longer afford the price-tags the storefronts command.

“Before it was good, but now it’s bad because I can not afford to pay rent,” said Crown Heights resident Ba, who has been selling hats on Fulton Mall for 20 years — originally in a store, but now on the street.

But the stretch is still known as a place to score bargains, said a real-estate expert, which makes it such an attractive proposition for big names looking to target price-conscious consumers.

“It’s always been the reputation of that street, that it’s a cheap place to buy,” said local broker Chris Havens.

And many consumers say they love the recognizable logos now lighting up the stretch, as they can shop at their favorite chains without ever having to step foot in the outer borough of Manhattan.

“I’ve noticed there are a bunch of stores you see mostly in Manhattan that have come to Brooklyn and I like it,” said Carlon Kentisch, who lives in Crown Heights.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Deals, deals, deals: Jakeem Jolly, Carlon Kentisch, and Joseph Bull say they’re sad to see mom and pop shops go, but loving scoring deals at Fulton Mall’s new outlet shops.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

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