Study: Brooklyn leads the ‘chain’ gang

Brooklyn’s on Target

The chains are hooked on Brooklyn!

The borough gained more national retailers this year than any other part of the city, with 75 chain stores opening between September, 2009, and September, 2010, according to a study released on Tuesday by the Manhattan-based Center for an Urban Future.

Brooklyn is now home to 1,330 corporate shops — with Dunkin’ Donuts leading the way with 126 locations, more than twice the amount of locations of Subway and McDonald’s.

The report’s key findings include:

• Flatlands is the leader of the borough’s chain gang, with 14 new national stores joining the increasingly less diverse mix. The neighborhood is now home to

146 national retailers.

• Bay Ridge was runner-up in this year’s chain race with four new stores, including Fabco Shoes on 86th Street, opening in 2010.

• Most of the action is in Downtown Brooklyn, driven by thousands of residents in new and converted buildings in and around the borough’s historic civic core. The ZIP code that includes Downtown and Brooklyn Heights — 11201 — added two stores during the survey period for a total of 126. But that number does not include many more stores that are coming or opened after September, including Aeropostale, SYMS/Filene’s Basement, Barney’s Coop, which opened on Atlantic Avenue, H&M, and the Panera sandwich shop that will be opening on Adams Street.

Corporate execs cite Downtown and Brooklyn Heights’ constant foot traffic and public transportation as the area’s main draw.

“This is an area with 43 million subway riders each year, 150,000 shoppers,” said Brittany Brag, chief operating officer for the Crown Acquisitions, landlord of the future Filene’s Basement. “The streets are always packed and any national retailer that doesn’t set up here is missing a great opportunity.”

• Just because a neighborhood is popular, that doesn’t mean that it is overrun by the man. The study shows that Williamsburg and Greenpoint — two of the youngest and trendiest neighborhoods in the borough — have the fewest national chain stores.

“Culturally, I think Williamsburg and Greenpoint are better suited for more unique spots,” said Jesse Calexico, co-owner of Calexico, which will soon open its second location in Greenpoint.

The national retail rush — and the popularity of the chain stores — will no doubt energize supporters of Walmart, the mega-chain that is hoping to open inside the Gateway II shopping center at Jamaica Bay off Shore Parkway at Erksine Street. Citywide, elected officials have blocked the Behemoth of Bentonville from opening within the five boroughs, but opinion polls show widespread support for the discount retailer — and the latest retail study shows continued support for national chains in Brooklyn.

Except, of course, from the mom and pop businesspeople they shove aside.

“Chain stores can’t outdo true Brooklyn mom-and-pop service,” said Sal Casaccio, whose pizzeria, Tony’s Famous on the corner of Fulton and Adams street, was evicted last month to make room for the Manhattan-based, soon-to-be-national burger chain Shake Shack.