By Áine Pennello
Low rents in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have made the nabe an increasingly popular destination for business owners. But in between new restaurants and bars, some storefronts remain vacant, which can reduce foot traffic and threaten other businesses, according to the Pratt Area Community Council (PACC). That’s why the PACC is hoping to unite vacant storefronts with potential renters through its free Rolling Up the Gates Storefront Stroll on Feb. 22.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are invited to take part in the stroll, which will showcase ten to 20 empty storefronts on Fulton Street and its surrounding avenues, from Ashland to Bedford avenues. Dale Charles, PACC’s Director of Economic Development, will lead potential renters inside each property. Charles, a former business owner, said the stroll is a great way for business owners to become familiar with the properties and the surrounding area. PACC will provide business owners with information on each property such as whether the rental price is negotiable and what types of stores are in demand.
The stroll will be PACC’s first stroll of 2014 and is expected to be the organization’s busiest stroll this year as winter weather gives way to warmer temperatures. Low rents in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are also attracting business owners to the nabe. Charles said rents in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are 25 percent lower than rents in surrounding neighborhoods such as Park Slope, where some business owners are starting to become priced out. However rent prices in the nabe are quickly increasing too, which is why PACC negotiates with property owners to ensure rents remain sustainable.
The event will kick off with a networking breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at PACC’s second floor office on 900 Fulton Street. Vendors from banks, city agencies, micro lending organizations and law firms will be on hand to offer advice to potential renters. The walk will talk place at approximately 10 a.m. and will last one to two hours. The storefront stroll also marks the start of PACC’s entrepreneur program, which offers free workshops on repairs, book keeping, commercial leasing and other topics. Workshops are held every 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday night from Feb. 26 to April 9.
Those interested in taking part in the stroll must RSVP as spaces are limited. You can RSVP to the stroll by emailing Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (347) 823-5700, ext. 125.