Another Bay Ridge business will close come Jan. 31.
After two decades on Third Avenue, the Ridge iteration of the Painted Pot at 8009 Third Ave. will shutter, making the space one of more than 60 vacant storefronts in southwest Brooklyn.
The Painted Pot – a haven for the creative that thrived for 20 years on artists, young and old, stopping in to paint a pre-formed ceramic of their choosing – was the first of its “do-it-yourself” kind in a neighborhood that, before the rise of paint-and-sips, was in a league of its own.
The shop offered walk-ins as well as classes, camps and even children’s parties.
Owner Liza Mendoza, 54, took to the business’s Facebook page on Dec. 30 to announce the coming closure.
“It’s with a heavy heart, I will need to close this location,” she wrote. “The building is up for sale and most importantly, I am scaling back to two locations to slow my work load.”
Nonetheless, Mendoza is sad to be saying goodbye to the Ridge.
“The Bay Ridge store will always hold a special place in my heart because of the quaint size and character to the space itself,” she told this paper, noting, “The store has the original tin ceiling and two beautiful large front windows that showcase all the painted pottery.”
Mendoza expressed her gratitude that she has been able to do what she loves for the past two decades in the neighborhood. “Not everyone has access to a kiln to make pottery and we are fortunate to have this opportunity to provide this experience,” she said. “Our customers have not only been able to paint pottery but also make pottery on a potter’s wheel, work with clay by hand, learn mosaics and the art of glass fusion. I am very grateful to have been able to do what I love for the past 20 years and I hope to make pottery for 20 more.”
Mendoza added that she hopes that a new owner can continue her store’s legacy.
“The Bay Ridge location is for sale and I hope to pass our paint brushes to a new owner,” she said. “Hopefully, someone will purchase the business and I will gladly consult. My current staff would be more than grateful to remain in Bay Ridge.”
While the Painted Pot will live on in its flagship in Cobble Hill and its third-coming in Park Slope, Ridgeites are mourning the loss of yet another long-standing neighborhood staple.
“So very sad to hear,” wrote one patron on the shop’s post. “Your place was a big part of my son’s childhood. All the best – will fondly remember our parties and experiences there.”
“Oh this is so sad!” added another user, a local artist. “I can only say thank you (Lisa) for allowing me to do custom work for many, many years back while I was a grad student. I enjoyed it so much and have often thought about continuing it on the side one of these days.
“In the meantime[,] I wish you the best of luck,” the commenter went on. “Bay Ridge will miss this store for sure.”
The Painted Pot joins a growing list of local businesses which are folding in the face of rising rents, changing demographics and a growing digital age. Among the most recent, Zen, Grotto Italian Table and the storied 86th Street Nathan’s. On Fourth Avenue in the 90s, there is an entire block of “For Rent” signs.
Councilmember Justin Brannan touched on the trend in a recent op-ed for this paper.
“I’ll get right to it: There are too many vacant storefronts in our community,” he wrote. “I’ve counted over 60 ‘For Rent’ signs that have popped up over the past few months – and that’s just in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Not only does it look terrible, but it’s breaking my heart.”
The pol – who once owned the Art Room, a fine art school for children on Third Avenue, alongside his wife, Leigh, who has carried the torch herself since his election — went on to say that the causes tend to vary by neighborhood.
“It’s complicated,” Brannan wrote. “In gentrifying and more affluent neighborhoods, landlords often can’t wait to evict their current tenants in hopes of higher-paying ones. In other neighborhoods, landlords often ‘warehouse’ storefronts because they’re banking on a rezoning to change a neighborhood’s economy.
“But, to be fair, while greedy landlords hiking up rents are absolutely a big part of the problem, the full picture is much more complicated,” he went on, stressing also a spike in online shopping.
While, Brannan says, there is much to be done about the situation overall, the Painted Pot is prepping for the end of its time on Third.
“It’s been an amazing 20 years painting pottery with you and being part of the Bay Ridge community,” Mendoza’s message concluded.