By Gabriel Rom
A store with over 70 years of history in Ridgewood will be forced to close this January.
The 1/2 Price Kids shop must have everything out of its 60-84 Myrtle Ave. building, which was recently sold, by Jan. 1. The 13,000-square-foot store, in its last month of its lease, sells brand-name baby gear at discount prices.
“It’s not an easy thing to digest,” said store manager Ely Kairey.
“We are a family store and we grew up alongside the children. Everyone is choked up.”
The children’s clothing and accessory store, owned by Robert Elbaz and his family, has been at its current location in Ridgewood for 17 years. Prior to that, the Elbazes had owned the Wonderland Youth Center, also on Myrtle Avenue.
In a show of gratitude to the neighborhood, the store is selling its remaining stock at 50 percent off.
“We’ve had a strong relationship with this neighborhood and it is a way of giving back,” he said. “We know people on a first-name basis, we tell them they can always come in to the store if they are in trouble. But now, the neighborhood is in disbelief,” Kairey said. “People are coming in asking ‘How did this happen?’ ‘Where are you going next?’”
Kairey says that the property was sold for around $7 million.
“We’re looking for other locations, but it’s pretty difficult,” he said. “The rent is astronomical and this type of thing has happened to other stores in the area.”
Straddling the border with Brooklyn, Ridgewood has experienced a wave of mostly younger people fleeing Bushwick’s rising rental costs for the comparatively cheaper rates just over the border in Queens.
A note was been posted on the window of 1/2 Price Kids declaring “Hello Unemployment. Goodbye Ridgewood.” The message has since been taken town, but Kairey said the idea behind it remains true.
“My employees are not fly-by-night, they have been here for years,” he said. “They tell me that their rents are also going up, that they may have to leave Ridgewood, too.”
While disheartened, Kairey hopes to stay near the community that he has known for so long.
“There is an expression I keep reminding myself,” Kairey concluded. “‘When one door closes, another opens.’”
Even though 1/2 Price Kids will be closing its Ridgewood location, they have two other locations—one in Brooklyn and one in Mount Vernon—as well as a website where customers can continue to shop.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@