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‘Hotlantic’ goes cold for Jodi Arnold

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Atlantic Avenue was just too slow.

A lack of foot traffic on the shopping strip caused the sudden shuttering of Jodi Arnold, a high-end women’s fashion brand, last month, according to store reps.

On a drag dominated by other high end retailers — Steven Alan is just next door and Barney’s Co-Op is within walking distance — the arrival of Jodi Arnold this past summer was a further sign of Atlantic Avenue’s arrival as an upscale, chi chi strip.

But then the Boerum Hill shop, located at the corner of Hoyt Street and Atlantic, closed late last month after a year and half in business.

An accountant with the parent company blamed the closure on a lack of steady walk-ins.

“Foot traffic was very slow,” said Virdie Emmanuel, an accounting manger at Redbird New York, which owns the Jodi Arnold brand. “We were hoping [the arrival of the Barney’s Co-Op] would draw more people into the area, but we didn’t notice that at all. Maybe the price point wasn’t right for the area. I’m not really sure.”

The 12-year-old brand, where a pair of trousers could cost $350, only recently started branching out into its own locations. Last year, it opened a shop in Manhattan, first as a pop-up shop but then extending its lease.

Similarly, the Brooklyn store was only intended as a pop-up shop (though initial press on the store’s opening in June did not specify that). After a trial run of three-to-six months, the business was going to decide whether or not to extend the lease, said Emmanuel.

“We liked the area, we thought it was up-and-coming, and that maybe we could build our brand out there,” she said.

That wasn’t to be, as evidenced by the appearance of steel bars over the store’s windows, which on Friday had signs directing shoppers to the Manhattan location.

Other retailers in the area also conceded that traffic can be slow along Atlantic.

“We’ve kind of gotten a feeling that the area in general is a weekend area,” said Tommy Maroulakos, an assistant store manager at Barney’s Co-Op, which opened between Court and Clinton streets in October.

But, he added, thanks to the strength of the brand, business has been good.

“I can’t go into too much detail, just all around, number-wise, traffic-wise, everything has been at or above expectation. We’re very happy,” said Maroulakos. “Barney’s is an established company that has a following, especially in the area. It was long overdue.”

Similarly, Steven Alan, which, like Barney’s, has just one location in Brooklyn, followed the fans.

“Our business is not really predicated so much on foot traffic. I think for the most part people come to us,” said Steven Alan, who opened his store on Atlantic Avenue in 2008. “We view ourselves as a neighborhood business. We found a lot of our customers, before we opened, were from there, and wanted us to open there.”

So retailers, if you’re looking to cash in on Atlantic Avenue, it might help to already be a household name.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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