HUDSON HEIGHTS — Storefront Science, the much-loved neighborhood science shop for uptown kids, will close its doors at the end of the month.
Shop owner Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone announced the move in a email to customers Tuesday afternoon, saying that the store she founded in 2011 as a dedicated science and play space for kids would be shutting down on Oct. 31.
Ardizzone explained that the store at 728 West 181st St., which has been featured by numerous news outlets, did not draw enough students each month to allow her to afford the $5,000 monthly rent.
"I want to keep prices affordable, but this real estate market is not designed to keep small business alive," Ardizzone said, echoing a common complaint of small business owners uptown.
"There are Upper West Side rents in this neighborhood," Ardizzone added, pointing out that she had looked at spaces on the Upper East and West Sides before settling in Hudson Heights two years ago.
News of the closing has brought an outpouring of support from the community, Ardizzone said, adding that residents have sent emails of thanks and have offered to help her pack the shop's inventory of gadgets and educational toys. Several families will even take care of some of the store's animals, she said.
Storefront Science isn't going away completely, Ardizzone said, as the shop is in discussions with local small businesses to host November and December classes in the neighborhood.
The shop will even become a traveling road show in January, as Ardizzone imagines Storefront Science spending two days in Harlem, two days in Washington Heights, Inwood, the Upper West Side, and so on.
"In order to let Storefront Science live, I have to give up my physical space," Ardizzone wrote.
"People want us to be here," she added. "And we don't want to disappear. We want to reinvent ourselves."