Marine Park Hardware Corporation has always stocked its shelves with Michael’s of Brooklyn tomato sauce, but demand is at its highest now that the novel coronavirus has left grocery stores operating with long lines and limited supplies.
“We have been selling their sauce for years now,” said store owner Greg Borruso, “and now people are coming to the store just to buy sauce.”
Not only does the unusual partnership between the beloved Avenue S hardware store and the local Italian mainstay on Avenue R allow Borrusso to support the eatery during a hard time, but the sauce has also increased foot traffic at the hardware store.
“As long as people walk through the door,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “This is a tough time for retail right now.”
For the hardware store owner, who is also very active within the Marine Park community, it is imperative for small businesses to work together to facilitate a thriving local economy.
“When you are a small business you need another business to rely on,” Borruso said. “It’s kind of like a two-way street when you are a small business. And you’ll notice that most small business owners patronize and have good relationships with other small business owners.”
The head of Brooklyn’s biggest business booster commended the neighborly act between the two Marine Park businesses and suggested others consider following suit.
“There is a good example of a close-knit neighborhood that knows how to look out for each other,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Peers. “Because I like the idea so much, we are going to push it out as a best practice and encourage commercial strips to adopt something like that.”
Meanwhile, Borruso plans to stay open as long as he can, and encourages patrons to stop by for a jar of tomato sauce, tools for a home improvement project or just some time out of the house.
“We are here to help, and if you want to come in and talk we are here to do that, too,” he said.