A new 99¢ store is opening across the street from another 99¢ store in Whitestone’s commercial strip 150th Street.
Stork’s Bakery closed earlier this year and a private company purchased the place in June 27 for $925,000, according to government records. Jumbo 99¢ Mall Discount Store is set to open this week, according to workers on the site.
Across the street, husband and wife partners Huang and Gueng Ze worry that the new dollar store will put their own discount store, which has been around for 10 years, out of business.
“This will be a big problem for us,” the husband Huang said. The two worry that the new competition will cause them to lose what business they already have. As they spoke, a customer came in and told the owners that he wouldn’t shop at the new place.
“Why are these people opening the same kind of store across the street?” customer Gastao Almeida said. “Everybody likes this place and we will support them so that they don’t go out of business.”
Devin O’Connor is the president of the Whitestone Civic Association, and his group often works with local businesses for events. He hopes that the new 99¢ store will cooperate with his group and the community.
“It’s a shame that the bakery closed. It was a Whitestone staple,” he said. “But it is a business in the neighborhood so I understand both sides.”
O’Connor said that the character of the neighborhood is changing, and not always for the best.
“The village is not what it used to be,” he said and pointed out that the new store is the most recent indicator of “times changing.”