However, with the closing of the GEM and Liberty general stores last year, the street had recently become a veritable wasteland for shoppers in the market for more modest household items.
Not any longer thanks to Save on Grand, which had its soft opening on March 22 and a grand opening this week.
“We opened here because there wasn’t any stores selling discount items in the neighborhood,” said owner Sam Inaab, who owns another general store in Williamsburg, and one in Richmond Hill. “We thought this would be a good area for one, and we’re familiar with the community.”
Homer Hill of the Grand Street BID said he conducted a resident survey last year to gauge what the unmet retail needs of the area were.
“The overwhelming response indicated the need for general merchandise,” he said. “So we worked to recruit general merchandise to the area, and helped bring in this store, which is sort of an urban Target.”
As of now, Save offers home goods, health and beauty products, and household electronics. Innab said he also hoped to open a furniture section in the basement of the store, although those plans were still far down the road.
In its first few weeks, he said, business had been good, and he expected sales only to increase as the store established more of a presence on the block.
“Everyone who comes into the store likes it,” he said. “They say it’s clean, and we have a lot of stuff. Of course it takes time until people start to notice the store.”
Hill said that thus far the community response had been positive, and that he believed the presence of a new general merchandise store would have positive benefits to other stores on the street.
“This also supports current retailers,” he said. “As long as Grand Street can be a destination for neighborhood convenience-type goods, that’s better for all the businesses.”
In an effort to attract more retailers like Save on Grand, as well as clothing stores, the BID will be conducting a tour of ten vacant retail and restaurant spaces on Grand Street on Saturday, April 25. Interested businesses are encouraged to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.