Welcome to Bay Ridge: A shopper’s paradise

For decades, shopping has been a staple in the Bay Ridge community. Whether it’s large retail stores or smaller mom and pop shops, the area has always given its shoppers diverse options, a major reason why the neighborhood, through both economic booms and recessions, continues to attract shoppers not only from the area but from way beyond.

“86th Street is synonymous for the last 65 years of my life with shopping,” said Pat Condren, executive director of the 86th Street BID, who believes that the area is more than just a shopping strip. “It’s not just a shopping strip, but an original shopping mall, anchored by stores like Century 21 Department Store and Modell’s Sporting Goods.”

From electronics to clothing stores, the 86th Street BID area has shoppers covered, whether they are searching for clothing, electronics or home goods.

Through the years, some businesses have thrived more than others. Yet even through its toughest economic times, 86th Street remains a viable and popular option for Brooklynites. “You name it, we got it,” said Condren.

Along Third Avenue, the community’s tightknit bond between residents and businesspeople is what keeps the area both unique and strong.

“The biggest draw is they are Bay Ridge owned business and all local stuff. People that own businesses also shop in the area,” said Merchants of Third Avenue President Bob Howe. “There is also plenty of volunteering in neighborhood.” An example of such goodwill was the Night of Caroling event hosted by local organization Bay Ridge Cares that took place this past holiday season along the strip.

Although Third Avenue is known by many to be a popular destination for dining, the area also offers shopping experiences that can’t be replicated in larger areas or online.

“It’s always nice when someone goes into the store and they know you by name. Small stores can’t compete with Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but how they can compete is by offering unique events that you can’t experience elsewhere,” added Howe.

For example, local bookstore The Bookmark Shoppe (8415 Third Avenue) offers knitting classes, other workshops, and book signings from authors such as Lemony Snicket. “Our local liquor stores also offer wine tasting sessions,” said Howe.

Howe also believes people from all over the city come enjoy the spas. “I think people gravitate to Third Avenue for some of the spas. The Green Spa & Wellness Center (8804 Third Avenue) and Pilo Arts Day Spa & Salon (8412 Third Avenue) are some of the best on the avenue.”

At the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue BID, Vice President Basil Capetanakis is proud of the aesthetics of the neighborhood as well as the affordability of the stores along the thoroughfare.

“As far as what we offer, we have a beautiful street that we keep clean and attractive,” Capetanakis said. “We also have nice retail stores that are reasonable as far as price is concerned. We are accommodating. I feel we have an excellent place, an excellent area, and beautiful stores for all ages.”

Regardless of where you choose to shop in the Bay Ridge area, you are more than likely to find whatever your heart may desire. “I think Bay Ridge is unique in that it has three viable commercial strips. You can find whatever you need within those confines,” added Howe.

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