Showing posts with label Essex Card Shop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Essex Card Shop. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Filling the shelves as Essex Card Shop moves closer toward a reopening on Avenue A

Photos by Stacie Joy

Workers are busy restocking the shelves at the fully renovated Essex Card Shop, which was gutted by a fire in early January at 47 Avenue A.

Owner Muhammad Aslam (below) provided EVG contributor Stacie Joy with an interior update the other day. He said he will be open before Sept.1, and he is looking toward mid-to-end of August. 

As of late last week, he was waiting on several items, including a new ATM, FedEx system and store signage...
You can check out our previous posts on Essex Card Shop, located in the retail space of the Ageloff Towers between Third Street and Fourth Street, for more background on what has transpired to date.  

Supporters of Essex Card Shop have helped it raise more than $91,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Essex Card Shop getting closer to reopening on Avenue A

Photos by Stacie Joy 

The build-out continues inside Essex Card Shop, the business gutted by a fire in early January at 47 Avenue A.

Owner Muhammad Aslam (above) provided EVG contributor Stacie Joy with an interior update the other day. As you can see, the new floor, walls and ceiling are all in place... with workers starting on the shelving phase ... 
Aslam is hopeful that the longtime family-owned business can be up and running again in three to four weeks.

You can check out our previous posts on Essex Card Shop, located in the retail space of the Ageloff Towers between Third Street and Fourth Street, for more background on what has transpired to date.  

Supporters of Essex Card Shop have helped it raise more than $91,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New storefront and interior reveal at the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop on Avenue A

Photos yesterday by Stacie Joy 

Workers have taken down the construction plywood from outside Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A ... revealing a new front door and windows...
EVG contributor Stacie Joy got an interior update as well... as the renovations are shaping up here at the shop destroyed by a fire in early January...
Supporters of the business have helped it raise more than $90,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

You can check out our previous posts on Essex Card Shop, located in the retail space of the Ageloff Towers between Third Street and Fourth Street, for more background on what has transpired to date.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

Essex Card Shop is now in its reconstruction phase on Avenue A

An "Under Construction" banner went up on Friday at the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A.

This marks the next phase of the reopening for the longtime East Village business that a fire destroyed on Jan. 10.

In an email, Saba Aslam, the daughter of owner Muhammad Aslam, told me they are finishing some interior demolition. The Aslam family has a meeting with the contractors in early April to better understand how long the reconstruction process will take.

The photos below, via Saba's sister Mehnaz, show the current state of the interior...  
We also asked Saba about Jayant "Jay" Patel, the shop's longtime manager: "Jay is safe and well. He is living with his family in New Jersey!"

Meanwhile, supporters of the business have helped it raise more than $90,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

You can check out our previous posts on Essex Card Shop, located in the retail space of the Ageloff Towers between Third Street and Fourth Street, for more background on what has transpired to date.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Cleaning out and preparing to rebuild Essex Card Shop on Avenue A

Workers began cleaning out the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop late last week at 47 Avenue A. (The top two photos are courtesy of owner Muhammad Aslam's family).
EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by on Friday...
The family is hopeful that the reconstruction process can start this week in the retail space of the Ageloff Towers between Third Street and Fourth Street.  

Unfortunately, we're told that the Essex Card Shop's insurance hardly covers anything — roughly $18,000, which is less than the cost of one of the store's copy machines. Meanwhile, the building's insurance will only cover certain parts of the reconstruction. 

The New York Times reported that the estimated loss was around $300,000; that the "aisles and its basement were bulging with inventory."

To date, supporters of the business have helped it raise nearly $90,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

Muhammad Aslam continues to express his gratitude for the outpouring of support from the community — residents and businesses alike...
A two-alarm fire destroyed the shop on Jan. 10. Authorities later charged a 13-year-old boy with second-degree arson.

Monday, January 31, 2022

A benefit for the Essex Card Shop

Art of the old Essex Card Shop storefront by Leah Tinari 

Goodnight Sonny is hosting a benefit tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 1) evening from 5-8 for the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop, 47 Avenue A. 

Local artist Leah Tinari is organizing the event. All proceeds (plus tips)  from the three hours will help rebuild the longtime Card Shop, which was destroyed in a fire on Jan. 10. (There is also a GoFundMe campaign to support the family-owned shop cover expenses and lost income.) 

As previously reported, a 13-year-old boy had been charged with second-degree arson. 

Goodnight Sonny is at 134 First Ave. on the NE corner at St. Mark's Place.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

More details about the fire that destroyed the Essex Card Shop

Photo by Stacie Joy

More details are emerging about the two-alarm fire that destroyed Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A on Jan. 10.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy first reported last Thursday that a 13-year-old boy had been charged with second-degree arson.

Julie Besonen filed a piece for the Times yesterday about the longtime business and its meaning to the community. (More on this in a moment.)

Besonen has details about the moments when the shop's management first smelled the smoke...
It was a typical Monday afternoon at the Essex Card Shop, an encyclopedic stationery store ... Business had been steady. Jayant Patel, the 80-year-old manager, had just noticed a teenager wandering around, before being hustled out by an older woman, perhaps his grandmother. Now the store was empty, the dutiful manager at his post, behind the counter.

Within minutes, however, Mr. Patel smelled smoke and saw flames in the back. He seized a broom and tried to snuff the fire out. It happened so fast that there was no chance to grab the fire extinguisher, he said. Soon, Muhammad Aslam, the shop's owner, arrived to find his loyal friend struggling alone to put out the fire. They called 911.
Meanwhile, Stacie received a copy of the Fire Incident Report, which listed the cause of the fire as "Incendiary — Combustible Material." Here's more from the report:
Examination showed fire originated in the subject premises, on the first floor, in the northwest section of the store, approximately eight feet from the north wall, approximately eight feet from the west wall, approximately three feet above finished floor level, in combustible material (stationery supplies), due to the introduction of an open flame (lighter). 
Fire extended throughout the northwest section of the store (floor, ceiling, walls and contents throughout). Fire further extended throughout the rest of the store (ceiling, walls and contents throughout). Fire further extended out the front store window to the exterior of the building and the store awning. Fire was thereto confined and extinguished.
The fire spared the neighboring businesses between Third Street and Fourth Street — Exit9 and Downtown Yarns.

As for Essex Card Shop, Aslam estimated the loss, including inventory, to be around $300,000, the Times reports, noting the "aisles and its basement were bulging with inventory."

To date, supporters of the business have helped it raise more than $70,000 in a GoFundMe campaign

Besonen has more about what the place meant to residents in the piece titled "Essex Card Shop Was Destroyed by a Fire. Its Customers Might Save It." (Disclosure: The article in the Times includes a quote from Stacie.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Downtown Yarns reopens today

Photos by Stacie Joy

Downtown Yarns reopens for business today at 45 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street  ... two weeks after a fire destroyed Essex Card Shop next door at 47 Avenue A on Jan. 10.

While the fire mostly spared owner Leti Ruiz's small shop, she spent these past two weeks airing out Downtown Yarns... thanks in part to industrial air scrubbers that the building's landlord provided... 
Downtown Yarns is open from noon to 7 p.m. All yarn is 10-percent off through Feb. 1. You can follow the shop's Instagram account for updates.

As EVG contributor Stacie Joy first reported, a 13-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree arson. Officials and other sources said that the teen was seen leaving Essex Card Shop minutes before management smelled smoke. Investigators were able to pull photos/videos from the store surveillance camera. 

Previously on EV Grieve:

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Officials: Police arrest teen accused of starting fire that destroyed the Essex Card Shop

A teen has been arrested in connection to the fire that destroyed Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A on Jan. 10

An FDNY official confirmed the arrest (as well as age and gender) to EVG contributor Stacie Joy. We're told the charges include second-degree arson for the 13-year-old, whose name was not released due to his age. 

Officials and other sources said that the teen was seen leaving the shop minutes before management smelled smoke. Investigators were able to pull photos/videos from the store surveillance camera. 

The fire destroyed Essex Card Shop, which moved here between Third Street and Fourth Street in June 2020 after 20 years on a storefront one block to the south. 

Owner Muhammad Aslam has said he will reopen the business, which has collected more than $65,000 in a crowdfunding effort to help pay for expenses and lost income. 

The fire also temporarily shuttered Downtown Yarns next door.

As previously noted, the stout cement ceiling and brick walls in the storefronts of the 13-floor Ageloff Towers served as a firebreak and prevented further damage to the building and adjacent businesses.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Exit9 reopens on Avenue A after fire next door

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Exit9 Gift Emporium reopened yesterday — just two days after the two-alarm fire destroyed neighboring business Essex Card Shop late Monday afternoon here on Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the shop yesterday, where she found a thankful co-owner Charles Branstool in the retail space in the base of the 13-floor Ageloff Towers... 
"I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to have been spared such an unthinkable tragedy. It was difficult to comprehend the surreal events as they unfolded....watching Exit9 remain virtually untouched while witnessing the destruction of my neighbor's family business," he said. "Thanks to the solid construction of the Ageloff Towers, the fire could not spread so easily. The outpouring of love and support from this community has been both humbling and heartwarming." 

However pleased Branstool was to be back open, his thoughts remained with his neighbor to the south. Essex Card Shop relocated next door at 47 Avenue A in June 2020. However, like Exit9, the Card Shop has been an Avenue A mainstay for more than 20 years.

"Let's not forget the real tragedy here is the loss of Essex Card Shop. My heart goes out to Muhammed and Jay and their family. I can't imagine what trauma they must be experiencing at this moment," Branstool said. "If there's one thing this community has taught me is that we know how to be resilient. Let's help them rebuild." (He then mentioned their GoFundMe effort. "Every little bit helps during times like this.") 

Given the dramatic photos at the scene on Monday, it's incredible that Exit9 remained intact, free of any water damage. A faint odor of smoke hung in the air. (There's an air purifier running in the shop.) A fire official told Stacie that the solid cement ceiling and brick walls in the storefronts served as a firebreak and prevented further damage to the building. 

"As for Exit9, she is a survivor. We just needed one day to rest and freshen up. We've cleaned up our floors and shelves, and a HEPA air filter is scrubbing the air," he said. "New Valentine's Day windows have already been installed. A fluffy feather baby cradled in a giant white heart, so things are already looking up for us."
Exit9, now in its 27th year, is at 51 Avenue A. Store hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with Sunday hours of noon to 6 p.m.
For further reading on EVG

Downtown Yarns hopes to reopen in a week

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Late Monday afternoon, Leti Ruiz stood on the east side of Avenue A below Third Street, anxiously watching the FDNY battle the two-alarm blaze that started inside Essex Card Shop across the street.

Downtown Yarns, housed in a sliver of a storefront, is next door to the south of the Card Shop, where thick smoke was billowing skyward. 

She thought that the fire would destroy the homey shop she's owned for three-plus years

Miraculously, Downtown Yarns — like Exit9, the Card Shop's neighbor to the north — escaped any significant damage. As previously noted, the stout cement ceiling and brick walls in the storefronts of the 13-floor Ageloff Towers served as a firebreak and prevented further damage to the building and adjacent businesses.
EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by yesterday as a rep from Servpro, which provides fire and water cleanup, finished his space assessment. Thankfully, there wasn't any harm caused by water.
He said that it would take about a week to thoroughly remove the smoke odor so Ruiz could reopen. Right now, Ruiz is using Febreeze, which she doesn't like, baking soda, and the industrial air scrubbers that the building has supplied.
Ruiz is grateful for the outpouring of support, including homemade signs of encouragement that students at the Neighborhood School around the corner placed on her storefront. 

In a further show of support, she noted that "so many people stopped by offering to buy the stinky yarn, but I don't want to sell smelly yarn to them."
You can follow Downtown Yarns on Instagram here for reopening information.

Assessing the fire damage at Essex Card Shop

Photos by Stacie Joy

A fire destroyed the Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A late Monday afternoon. Thankfully there weren't any injuries.

And we're starting to get an idea how badly the fire damaged the storefront here between Third Street and Fourth Street.

FDNY officials returned to inspect the space yesterday. EVG contributor Stacie Joy was also there...
Owner Muhammad Aslam and his oldest daughter Mehnaz Noreen, the shop's retail sales manager, were on hand.

The two are awaiting the fire marshal's report to submit to the insurance company to begin the process of reopening. (Longtime manager Jayant "Jay" Patel previously said that he smelled smoke coming from the bathroom in the rear of the store and immediately called the FDNY.) 

The father and daughter wished to express their gratitude for the outpouring of support from the community. (The GoFundMe launched Monday night has exceeded $50,000 to help the family pay for additional expenses and lost income.)

They were particularly heartened by the handmade signs that students from room 205 at the Neighborhood School left for them on the storefront's rolldown gate...
Aslam then inspected the remains of the shop, which opened here in June 2020 after more than 20 years at 39 Avenue A.
A few items, such as a ledger, somehow survived the fire...
And in case you were wondering about the ATM here... a technician arrived to remove the cash...
While Stacie was there, multiple residents stopped by to wish Aslam and his family well ... including the owners of the adjacent businesses, Leti Ruiz of Downtown Yarns and Charles Branstool of Exit9...
We'll keep you posted as Essex Card Shop starts the challenging reopening process. You'll likely see Aslam around. He told Stacie that he "doesn't wish to stay at home."
For further reading on EVG