Days after Bklyner reported on news of a planned Target store on Church Avenue, some community members are already pushing back.
The new Target is slated to come 2101 Church Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and East 21st Street, taking up the space formerly occupied by a Modell’s Sporting Goods store. Target signed a lease agreement for the 28,201-square-foot location with the property owner, Solomon Cohen, in August 2020.
An opening date has not yet been announced, but some community members are already voicing displeasure. An online petition titled “Stop the construction of Target on Church Avenue” created by an entity called “Protect Flatbush” had garnered about 450 signatures as of press time.
“It would be very detrimental to a lot of small businesses including mom and pop’ shops,” the petition reads. “It would have a negative affect. [sic] They would lose business causing them the close down.”
The petition is addressed to city and state leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, though it’s unclear what power they would have to stop the private deal.
Though the group’s petition and Instagram account features a photo of a banner from the local advocacy group Equality for Flatbush (E4F), E4F’s founder, Imani Henry, said he was not involved in the campaign. Protect Brooklyn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another major player on the street, the Bobby’s Department Store spread across two buildings at 1601 and 1628 Church Avenue, also expressed displeasure at the news. In a statement provided to Bklyner, a representative for Bobby’s called the news “a disaster to our community.”
“Big business has no place on small streets like Church Avenue,” they said. “I’m surprised our city and local community members have allowed this to happen. This won’t only affect business like Bobby’s, it will affect all the small mom and pop businesses in the area. Target’s recent push into New York is aggressive and is after small businesses, I am shocked to see this happening to our community, it’s a shame.”
Reactions on local social media were mixed. On a post sharing Bklyner’s article in a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Facebook group, one commenter wrote “I’m very happy about this as it will bring lots of jobs,” while another said “Not a good idea…. putting the smaller businesses out of business & more traffic congestion.”
But small retailers Bklyner spoke with were generally happy about the news.
“We’re happy to get a neighbor that’s a big company,” Mamadou Barry, manager at the Exotic Hat Masters store at nearby 2125 Church Avenue, said in a phone conversation with Bklyner. “I have no problem with them.”
Somaya Abduela, owner of Beverly Hills Bridal Shop at 2026 Church Avenue, said she thought the new Target would drive additional traffic to her store. Dane Petterson, the manager at Danice clothing store at 2101 Church Ave, felt the same way.
“We’re excited it’s going to bring us some business,” he said. “Things have been slow here.”