Oct. 8, 2018 By Tara Law
The Austin Street Hallmark store is closing after 87 years in business due to high rents, the owner confirmed today.
Hallmark Card and Gift, which has been at 71-41 Austin St. since 1931, will close in late November or early December, owner Mike Patel said. The Hallmark store offers greeting cards, toys, small gifts, Christmas decorations and other items.
Patel took over the store 22 years ago, and he plans to retire once it is closed. He celebrated his store’s 20-year anniversary in 2016.
Patel declined to state the cost of the current rent, but said that it keeps climbing.
“Every year, rent more and more,” Patel said. Closing the store, he said, feels “Very bad, but I have no choice.”
Patel said that he plans to offer a 25 percent to 75 percent discount on the store’s remaining goods. The store still has many cards, toys and picture frames, Patel said.
Patel said that he will try not to close the store until most of the merchandise is gone, but that he plans to close the shop by Christmas.
Real shame. Really like this store and Mike – first place I go when I need cards, balloons, lotto and I always enjoy bringing my daughter here for a treat. A strong mix of independent local businesses on a high street is one of the things that drew me to Forest Hills – if these landlords don’t get a clue, there won’t be anyone who can afford these rents.
I was living in FH on 80’s & 90’s. It was the most beautiful town in Queens, beautiful delis , restaurants, etc. Now is over crowded, with no traditional color. The chemistry has changed.
As much as I respect small businesses I must say good riddance to this store. The owners, mostly the guy has been notorious for being a complete jerk. They have been known to treat costumers like their not suppose to be in the store. On top of that we must be honest, they don’t really sell anything worth your money. You can get most of their products online for cheaper. It’s mostly toys and not even good quality. It’s sad to see small businesses go but this one wasn’t a well run one.
Great. Now where am I supposed to get/exchange lotto tickets?
I too lament the shuttering of small businesses and wish we could do more to save them. That said, this is not exactly a business model that can be saved. There just isn’t enough demand for this kind of store, despite how long they’ve been there or how nice the proprietor is.
I’m sure the rent went up, and I’d hate to see the space empty or another bank wasting ground level store-front property, but I’m not quite sure we need to bend over backwards to save this particular business.
Forest Hills and Rego Park have lost stores and so much character in the 18 years I’ve lived here. Empty stores everywhere in NYC, including up and down Lexington and Madison Avenues. Facing Amazon, etc and high rentals, our city’s retail areas are becoming ghost towns. And the economy is supposed to be so strong!
To top everything else off, A&Js pizza is also going out of business. They are ruining Forest Hills. Maybe another bank will rent that spot?!? Its really sad.
Who are these landlords? Let’s name names.
And then the store will sit empty for eons. It is mind boggling that our useless local representatives do nothing to try to reverse this trend. Can think of no legislation to be introduced to save business owners. Too busy worrying about keeping Forest Hills Stadium and the tennis club happy, I guess.
Legislation called “don’t have horrible ideas for a business and expect it to succeed in a capitalist society”?
Although I left Forest Hills years ago, it was where I grew up. I never lost touch and followed all the various changes, none of which I can say were for the good of the neighborhoods. Change will always occur in every area but the greed of landlords over shadowed any reasons for the changes. It is so sad to see these changes that virtually destroy the original concept of local “mom-pop” type stores in each neighborhood.
Typical in every neighborhood. Real estate developers don’t give a damn about anything except maximizing profit.
Exactly but that’s why they purchase the property. So then move somewhere else which seems cold I know but what choices do we have?
Rents way to high for small business in Austin and elsewhere. I am sure the landlord is receiving plenty of rent already. Why can’t the landlord be reasonable with this guy. Anyway thanks for the many years of service to the neighborhood and happy retirement! I will always remember your collectibles. P.S……. Ann Taylor, Gap, Banana Republic, since they changed to Factory versions of their stores are good. Their sizes are now more diversified instead of just “boutique-y” sizes.
Way to steal a trademark name.
A true neighbor! With an attitude like that, you will be in front of your computer for a long time!
That makes me very sad. I go in that store and speak to the owner. I have been going for years. I love that place. Always neat and clean and the family is very helpful. I wish them well.
I’ve lived in Forest Hills for over 35 years and I miss the way it used to be before the area changed and not in a good way. Ugly houses, ugly temples moved in and small stores where owners knew and cared about their customers forced out. It’s disgusting.
UGLY TEMPLES?? You might want to think that over unless you meant it in anti-semetic tone.
You can respect every Americans right to free worship and still consider hideous temples to be ugly
You’re right Richard. That was anti-Semitic but behind phone names lie the cowards who’d never put their name on it
Ugly temples? You mean the temples that have been there for decades? Nice try, lady. Forest Hills has pretty much ALWAYS had a heavy Jewish community, so I don’t know what you’re remembering.
oh well I’ll just buy that crap on Amazon
Nice comment. Guess you don’t give a damn about small business owners.
We were just talking about this today- no cards stores, shoe stores, stocking stores left in my neighborhood- just crappy gap , ann taylor and banana republic, nothing left – how sad
I know what you mean. Garbage. And not a decent place to eat either.
And that earlier comment about the temple – it is so fugly just like it’s members.
Please explain the “Fugly Temple “ comment.
I think he means f***ing ugly. I am still waiting for an explanation about temples, but it’s not hard to guess the person is a bigot.
You forgot Starbucks, and phone stores! 🙂
A shame for all the stores closing. When I was growing up in Forest Hills. You could walk down Austin st and all the shop owners would wave as you went passes the stores so sad. I remember going into one of the stores only had a couple of $ Man said what can I do for you like to buy this necklace and earrings for my mon he said ok. Cannot do that nowadays