COBBLE HILL — Carl Foner remembers walking through Cobble Hill and falling in love with the neighborhood, its quaint local stores and strong sense of community.
But last week, when Foner heard that a Court Street grocer was fighting to save his store from being taken over by fashion giant J.Crew, he decided to step up for his neighborhood.
The Cobble Hill local, who has lived in the neighborhood with his wife for nine years, started a petition to save the Pacific Green Gourmet Food from closing after J. Crew reportedly signed a 10-year net lease for the building at 151 Court St.
The petition, which has received over 250 signatures, urges J.Crew to rethink their Court Street location and allow the grocery store to stay open.
“It’s a big part of the neighborhood,” said Foner. “I didn’t want to see that get lost.”
The Pacific Green Gourmet Food has been located in the building for the past 13 years and was told that the business would have to leave by the end of the year.
“We are trying to negotiate with the landlord,” Billy Solmaz, 37, manager of the grocery store told DNAinfo New York, last week, adding that he and his partners were willing to beat the highest bid.
While he isn’t against the J.Crew franchise, Foner doesn’t believe the retailer will fit into the Court Street commercial space that consists mostly of local shops and businesses, he said.
Through the petition, Foner hopes to make J.Crew understand that the community doesn’t want the proposed location, he said.
“It would completely change the make-up of the neighborhood,” he said.
Foner’s ties to small businesses stretch back to his childhood in Central Pennsylvania, where his father owned a local game shop, he said.
Selling puzzles, chess and checker boards, among others, he said his father “fostered a sense of community in the neighborhood,” said Foner, who works in IT in Midtown.
After moving to New York in 1999, he lived all over the city but found that community in Cobble Hill.
“The community really seems to care about what happens,” he said. “It’s more than just a place to live.”