Sid’s bids adieu to Downtown

Sid’s bids adieu to Downtown
The Brooklyn Paper / Andy Campbell

After nearly 80 years, Sid’s Hardware has left Downtown.

The definition of a successful Mom-and-Pop business, Sid’s anchored Myrtle Avenue before, during and after the days when it was known as “Murder Avenue.” But this week it closed its location in the Metrotech office complex, where it was relocated after making a nice deal with developer Bruce Ratner nearly three decades ago. It will reopen on Hamilton Avenue at the southern end of the Gowanus Canal and near Park Slope.

The hardware store that stuck with Downtown through the best of times and the worst of times (and these times, which are somewhere in the middle), has finally gotten sick of Downtown.

“Look, the rents are too high, there’s no parking, and this dead scene isn’t a place to run a business,” said Rich Popper, a store manager. “The other day, I had one guy go around the block for 20 minutes so he could pick up a couple cans of paint.”

It will reopen “in the next couple weeks.” For now, contractors can still place orders, but the walk-in business is finished.

The location change will complete a business model revamp for the 78-year-old shop — moving away from “terrible” retail sales to direct sales. A new service counter will focus on delivery to construction sites and ordering, said sales manager William Ruzzo.

He added that the decision to move was made at the end of a 20-year, rent-controlled lease deal with Ratner — an agreement struck after the developer took control of Sid’s previous location using eminent domain.

The business saw a steep decline in retail customers — and an explosion of demand for direct delivery to construction sites — during the “revitalization” of the Downtown area and the construction of the Metrotech Center, Ruzzo said. He blames a deteriorating business climate among a horrendous parking situation — not to mention an even-sweeter rent deal on the new place, plus a parking lot, much more warehouse space, and room for delivery trucks.

“So we’re going to ramp up our customer service and have our orders ready to pick up at the new place,” Ruzzo said.

Sure, the Home Depot and the Lowe’s Hardware superstore are already well established near the new Sid’s, but Ruzzo said that those businesses present an opportunity, not a threat.

“We’re a ‘get in, get out in 10 minutes’ kind of store, unlike those guys,” Ruzzo said. “We’re going to take all the direct business we need from them.”

He added that Sid’s would stick to some of its roots: it’s still family owned and will have about seven aisles of tools and materials. But Ruzzo said the refocusing of the business is the only thing that will keep it alive and thriving in this economy.

Officials from Forest City Ratner, the now-defunct store’s landlord, did not return calls for comment.

Sid’s Hardware [435 Hamilton Ave. at 14th Street, (718) 875-2259].