The 600 block of Manhattan Avenue already looks very different in just a few months.
First, the family-owned Natural Vitamins (671 Manhattan Ave.) announced it would close after 50 years in business. Next, another family-owned business, Dream Fishing Tackle (59 Norman Ave.), left its 673 Manhattan Avenue storefront for a new space around the corner. Now, the Greenpoint location of the Vietnamese chain Mama Pho (685 Manhattan Ave.) has closed for good. As with so many recent closures, this one was fairly quiet, with many customers not realizing it was in progress until a “for rent” sign appeared in the window.
While I will personally miss the easy access to the vermicelli bowl I had for lunch at least once a week, I take heart in Banhmigos’s recent opening, just around the corner at 79 Norman Avenue. Plus, Mama Pho has two locations in Williamsburg.
Winter can be a sluggish time for local businesses, but as far as Greenpointers can surmise, there doesn’t seem to be a common denominator linking all the closures. According to property records, the same family behind Natural Vitamins also owns the building itself. Plus BKLYN, a small local business we also love, will move into the space next, so it’s not another smoke shop! Dream Fishing Tackle said their reason for moving was that their aging landlord left the city and sold off the building, but they had a good relationship with him overall.
It might not be curtains just yet for one Manhattan Avenue business. Eagle-eyed residents recently spotted a “for rent” sign at juice/smoothie purveyor Baya Bar (687 Manhattan Ave.), but the team now tells Greenpointers they’ve had a change of heart. While they are still eyeing a permanent closure, they just removed the “for rent” sign in a last-ditch effort to save the storefront.
“Between high rent prices, higher product costs, the winter slowdown, and low community support for our business it has been a tough journey,” sibling duo and store owners James and Melissa Clark said over email. “We can’t do this alone. With stores shuttering left and right on Manhattan Ave, our local community needs to come together now more than ever. As Greenpoint residents ourselves, we understand the importance of supporting local businesses and the impact they have on the fabric of our community. We believe in the power of unity and resilience, and we need the support of our friends and neighbors.”
Baya Bar opened its Greenpoint location in 2022, though the brand itself was founded in 2016. A New York City-based chain, Baya Bar has several locations across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Since 2016, the chain has expanded to other states.