Lorraine Furniture, Downtown stalwart, yields to changing tastes

The Brooklyn Paper
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One of Brooklyn’s longtime furniture retailers will be converted into offices after the store closes for good later this year.

The owners of Lorraine Furniture — which served the borough with four locations over 64 years with its cheap deals on fancy-looking leather furniture — say that they’re “retiring” and closing up their final shop on Flatbush Avenue by December.

The building’s owner, Livingston Street Realty, is expected to rent out the bottom floor as retail and the top two floors out as office space, just in time for the foot traffic that’s expected as the nearby Atlantic Yards slowly builds out.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling – I’ve worked [at Lorraine] for 45 years,” said one owner, Paul Horowitz, who will continue running his other business, Fash-N-Home, which buys wholesale furniture and sells it to companies. “It was a labor of love.”

A labor of love, maybe, but also a labor pain — the store has opened and closed four locations since its flagship store kicked off in Greenpoint in 1946. Several mishaps later, the business consolidated and moved to its location near Livingston Street in 1989.

But Horowitz said that sales were starting to fail because “gentrifica­tion” had changed his customer base, and he didn’t change with the times, as Downtown increasingly became an area of expensive high-rises.

Last week, customers filtered in and out slowly, checking out slashed prices on lamps, entertainment centers and couches. Several of them came in solely because they saw the “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” signs outside.

“I had no idea [the shop] was here before,” said Fort Greener Connor Lewis as he was leaving. “But I feel like I should take advantage of something in there [during the sale].”

Updated 12:24 pm, November 4, 2010
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