Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Coney Island Death Watch: Lola Staar Boutique Evicted

Former Lola Staar Boutique

While Coney Island boardwalk mainstays such as Ruby's Bar & Grill and Cha Cha's have been given a stay of execution until the end of the 2007 summer season by Thor Equities, at least one business has been given the boot: the Lola Staar Boutique. Apparently, the boutique's owner has been evicted. The eviction is particularly puzzling since the entrepreneur behind the boutique has been relatively supportive of Thor's redevelopment plans. (The photo above, taken this weekend, shows the Lola Staar boardwalk location--which is the doorway surrounded by pink on the left. It no longer has a sign.)

Given that the Lola Staar store is one of the gems of Coney Island--a unique establishment that sells original Coney merchandise--the fact that it will not be there this summer raises interesting questions about Thor's vision for the neighborhood. The boutique is hoping for a new home in Coney Island for the summer season, but finding boardwalk space that is not controlled by Thor is virtually impossible.

Thor has already evicted a number of tenants on its property and demolitions and land clearance are underway.

While it's "only" one store, the loss of a business headed by a creative entrepreneur is a very, very, very bad omen for the neighborhood's small and independent operators. We have said it before and we will say it again--having such large pieces of real estate in a neighborhood under the control of one landlord or developer is a very bad idea both in terms of the project that results and in terms of its impact on businesses. The challenge for Lola Staar and for other Coney businesses or enterprises that wish to move to Coney Island, but that can not meet the developers terms for one reason or another, will be to find quality space that is owned by another firm. In Coney's core along the boardwalk, that will be all but impossible to do.

You can visit Lola Staar online for a look at her wonderful designs and original Coney Island products.

Related Post:
Lola Staar Founder Talks About Coney Island
Coney Island Death Watch: Early Demoltion Porn

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4 Comments:

Blogger dalton said...

That's such a shame, I love that store. I visit several times a year and have bought a lot of gifts for friends and family there in the past. I'm glad they have a website, but still...I really hope they can find a way to keep a stand open on the boardwalk.

Thor Equities sucks.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Z. Madison said...

shame. loved that place. guess my purchases are now collector's items...

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How horrible!! Lola Staar is the greatest store!! They have to help her find a new location! Coney Island wouldn't be the same without her!!

11:32 PM  
Blogger Merry Pyester said...

Lola Staar epitomizes the entrepreneurial, creative and fantastical spirit of Coney Island. Thor need to embrace tenants such as Ms. Staar who takes great pride in her store and boosts Coney Island visitor numbers through the strong brand awareness she has created through promoting not only her little pink store but also Coney Island as a whole. It is imperative that Ms. Staar maintains a strong presence on the boardwalk!

11:02 AM  

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