Archive for the tag 'businesses'

Polina Groman and her husband Elliot. Source: SpinGreen via Forbes.

Polina Groman and her husband Elliot. Source: SpinGreen via Forbes.

While the city is in the middle of grappling with the explosion of for-profit, often shady, clothing donation bin companies, one Sheepshead Bay-based company is getting recognition for doing it right.

SpinGreen, based at 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road, was profiled by Forbes magazine yesterday for their work in the space, challenging the growing notion that the bins are nothing but a nuisance.

SpinGreen manufactures, distributes, and maintains bins for both indoor and outdoor use that are rust, graffiti, and bedbug proof. While it is illegal to place these containers on public land, [owner Polina] Groman, 34 and originally from Ukraine, works with private property owners. For example, Trump Village, a complex in Brooklyn with about 3,500 residents, hosts a bin.

… The partnership requires little work for property owners since the bins have a weight sensor technology and GPS tracking that ensures the containers never overfill, and SpinGreen also has a 24/7 customer service line in case of emergency. Each owner is also provided with $2 million liability insurance.

Groman and SpinGreen are constantly battling the negative perception clothing bins are gaining. Community leaders and neighbors have been blasting the bins for adding squalor to the streets, and for their illegal placement on public property. Some of the operators also appear to imply the “donations” are going to a charitable cause, when in reality they’re being sold overseas.

The controversy has led one City Council member to introduce a bill that would get the bins tossed from public lands and the operators fined, while having legal bin operators register with the city and provide data on collections. That bill has overwhelming support and is likely to pass following hearings next month.

SpinGreen is combating this by working with reputable charities, donating all wearable items (about 10 percent of its haul) to partners instead of selling it overseas. The remains are sold to recyclers who process it for reuse in materials like industrial wiping rags or furniture padding. A portion of the proceeds of those sales go back to the property owners who host the bins, and a portion goes to charity, the owner told Forbes.

For Groman, the biggest challenge she faces isn’t the unscrupulous competition, it’s simply getting people to understand the positive impact of recycling. More than 13 million tons of textiles goes to U.S. landfills every year, with Americans recycling only about eight percent. Groman hopes to change that.

 Groman was inspired to launch an educational component to her business — an effort that would contribute to establishing a good social enterprise reputation and also increase her customer base. She said she sees education and awareness, not competition, as her biggest challenge. “Not everybody recycles cans. That’s the reality. But you know that blue bin is for recycling,” Groman said. She created a nonprofit called the Barefoot Foundation that provides free after-school programs on recycling for local schools and foundations.

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Dunkin’ Donuts will soon open at 273 Avenue X, replacing an independent coffee house with a franchise.

The storefront, at the corner of Stryker Street and a block shy of McDonald Avenue, is the former home of Amori Baci,, a nice Italian cafe that served gelato and crepes in addition to standard coffee house fare. Amori Baci opened in 2011, but we’re not sure when it shuttered.

Dunkin’ Donuts appears to be making moves in the area. Another location is popping up on Neptune Avenue in Brighton Beach, as well as on Cropsey Avenue in Bath Beach. Those are the ones we know about, and their website lists dozens of existing locations in the area. With the latest additions, it’s nearly at the point where you’ll be able to find a D-n-D within five blocks of any spot in the neighborhood.

We’re not so sure that’s a good thing. What do you think?

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Sweet Island, a bonafide candy store, is now open at 1214 Avenue U.

The owners told us they opened up shop about a month ago, and the place seems like a slightly Eastern European twist on the candy shops of my youth. They’ve got the staple candies, including collectible M&M dispensers and such, but they also carry some imported candies and Eastern European baked sweets.

They also have ice cream, milkshakes, cakes, coffee and regular, not sweet snacks.

It replaces IMJ Kosher Market.

Good luck, Sweet Island!

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Mandee’s to the rescue? More like turn tail and run.

The long-lived Brighton Beach Avenue location of Mandee is having a storewide sale as it gets set to close its doors for good. Its parent company, Big M, is retreating from the neighborhood following bankruptcy proceedings last year that it said were spurred on by Superstorm Sandy.

Signs at the location are calling it an end of lease sale. An employee of the store told Sheepshead Bites that the 713 Brighton Beach Avenue storefront would shutter in late October, a decision that will leave 20 to 25 people without jobs, she said. Employees have been directed to steer customers to their Sheepshead Bay location on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U.

Big M, which also owns Annie Sez, filed for bankruptcy in January 2013, saying that Superstorm Sandy forced company stores in New York and New Jersey to close and that business had not been able to recover from the impact. The company was in the midst of a turnaround and restructuring when the storm hit, according to Bloomberg News.

At the time of the filing, the New Jersey-based company operated 129 stores in eight states, including 84 Mandee locations. It was founded by brothers Leon, Max and Bernard Mandelbaum in 1948 and remains a family-owned business.

Photo by John H.

Photo by John H.

Tipsters let us know that Pizza D’Amore is preparing to open up shop at 3003 Avenue U, the former storefront of Pizzeria Del Corso and Sammie’s Pizza.

It’s the latest outpost for the pizzeria, which also has locations in Mill Basin and Bensonhurst’s Ceasar’s Bay. The storefront is being fully renovated and the exterior got a major facelift.

The previous tenant, Sammie’s Pizza and Restaurant, opened in 2011 and closed up shop some time ago after failing to make much of a mark in the neighborhood. And, to be fair, they had big shoes to fill after taking the spot over from Pizzeria Del Corso, run by pizza prodigy Nino Coniglio.

We’ve heard good things about Pizza D’Amore, though, and readers of our sister site Bensonhurst Bean nominated it as one of that neighborhood’s best slices.

Best of luck to the new owners, and we look forward to grabbing a bite soon!

The following is a paid announcement from Elite Academy of Science and Technology:

Choosing the right high school for your child can make all the difference in their future.

elitePublic high schools focus on test preparations with overcrowded classrooms. At Elite Academy of Science and Technology, a co-ed Jewish high school, our focus is on your child’s education. Our goal is to prepare your child for college with the full knowledge of their high school curriculum. With the school year starting in the next few weeks, we encourage parents to visit the school to discuss your child’s goals.

Elite Academy is making it more affordable for Jewish parents to send their children to school with a Free Tuition Giveaway for the Fall 2014 school year!

ENTER THE RAFFLE FOR FREE TUITION NOW!

Elite Academy of Science and Technology, 2115 Benson Avenue, (718) 373-0960.

The above is a paid announcement by the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue). Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

The following is a paid announcement from the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue):

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Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, 3300 Coney Island Avenue, (718) 646-1444 ext. 335info@shorefronty.org.

The above is a paid announcement by the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue). Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

ms-pizza

Pizzeria number four is coming to the space at 2224 Avenue U, where signs for Michael & Sophia’s Pizzeria went up recently.

The new pizzeria will replace Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe, which closed in May after four months in business. Prior to that it was South Brooklyn Pizza, which had served up pies for less than a year. Before South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months.

That would make this business number seven in five years.

We wish Michael & Sophia’s the best of luck, and truly hope they succeed in breaking what appears to be a curse on this address – at least for any eatery. We hope to let you know when they’re open.

Photo by Robert Fernandez

Photo by Robert Fernandez

A new hair salon for men is slated to open at 1629 Jerome Avenue, just off of Sheepshead Bay Road.

Signs for Bosphorus Hair Salon for Men went up at the storefront over the weekend, according to our super tipster Robert Fernandez. It replaces Merin Corsetiere, the long-lived women’s apparel business that went out of business earlier this year.

For those interested in history and geography, Bosphorus is the name of the strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It forms part of the boundary that splits Europe and Asia, and it cuts through Istanbul, Turkey.

According to Greek mythology, the strait’s name means “ox passage,” in honor of nymph priestess Io, who had to cross the water to be restored to her human form after Zeus made her a cow because he wanted to get all up in that and that makes sense. She then had some of Zeus’ babies, who had some more babies, and then they had some babies and so on and so forth until one of those babies’ babies had children with great-great-whatever-granddad Zeus and Kevin Sorbo was born. He then suckled too hard on his dad’s-actual-wife-but-not-his-real-mother’s teet, causing her to jump away and fire off some boob booze into space, thereby creating the Milky Way.

Can you believe they teach this stuff in elementary school?

Anyway, hey, new hair salon!

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Walking past the Emmons Avenue staple Randazzo’s Clam Bar on Monday, we spotted that the restaurant overhauled its iconic lobster sign.

Gone are the days of single-color neon red lighting lining the lobster above the 2017 Emmons Avenue storefront. Good ol’ claws has been modernized. More color. More flashing. More lobsterrific.

I set up to take one photo of it, but couldn’t decide which color I liked best. So I took as many as I could and stitched the photos together into an animated GIF. In real life, the colors don’t change as quickly. But here at Sheepshead Bites, we do everything faster. Try not to have a seizure.

Here’s one I art-ed up a bit for you:

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