ASTORIA — A neighborhood's one-stop shop for affordable household goods is closing its doors after 25 years to make way for new development, according to its owner.
The Bargain Stop at the corner of 30th Avenue and 33rd Street — a local staple for everything from laundry detergent, shower curtains, drinking glasses to holiday decorations — will shutter on Feb. 28 because the owner of the two-story building it's housed in plans to develop the site, according to shop owner Peter Christakos.
Christakos, who opened The Bargain Stop in June of 1991, sees the store's closure as another sign of a changing neighborhood in a changing city, as more young residents move to Astoria and do much of their shopping online, he said.
"This kind of store will never happen again in New York," he said. "Honestly, I feel the brick-and-mortar stores, unless you're a chain, will not survive because of the internet."
The Bargain Stop is the second discount store in the neighborhood expected to shutter soon: ABC Super Stores, another variety shop on 31st Street near 21st Avenue, will also be closing after the property was sold last month, the Astoria Post reported.
"[For] the older generation, it's going to be very hard to find things," Christakos said. "The younger generation nowadays, they order everything online, they don't want anything else, but the older generation is going to be really lost without us."
The Bargain Stop's closure drew dismayed reactions on social media from fans of the store.
"I am devastated," one person posted on a Reddit thread about the plans.
"I grew up going to this place," another person wrote. "I really f***ing hope this isn't true."
"The Bargain Stop on 30th Avenue in Astoria is closing and everything is terrible," someone else tweeted.
Christakos said he's heard from a number of upset customers since announcing his plans to close earlier this week, including one longtime shopper who came to him in tears.
"Everybody knows us," he said.
The longtime owner posted letters around the store thanking patrons for their service over the years and calling them, "the greatest customers a businessman could ask for."
"I have seen numerous babies become customers themselves and they in turn bring their own children to the shop," he wrote. "Over these 25 years you have all become more than just customers you have become family."
Christakos wasn't sure what the owners of the property have planned for the site.
The shop owner says he's getting requests from residents to reopen somewhere else in Astoria, though he's not sure if he will.
"The customers, they're even finding me spots, they're telling me that spot is open, that spot is open. I want to clear my head a little bit and then think," he explained.
"I wanted to be here for at least another 10 years, and hopefully go off into the sunset then," Christakos said. "But unfortunately, it could not be helped."