Hallmark to Close, Neighboring Grocery Store to Expand
Shop Smart Food Market, located at 238 Prospect Park West, will be expanding by an additional 2,000 feet this spring.
By Lauren Evans
January 7, 2013
Windsor Terrace is one step closer to again having a functional supermarket—thanks not to any yielding by Walgreens, but to a neighborhood greeting card store.
After more than 27 years in business, C.V. Hallmark, located at 236 Prospect Park West, is closing up shop, making way for the expansion of the Shop Smart Food Mart located next door.
The market will be expanding its offering of fresh produce and meat—everything the community lamented losing when Prospect Avenue's Key Food shuttered in June, owner Samee Tharm told Patch on Monday.
“Everyone requested it,” Tharm said of his decision to expand his space at 238 Prospect Park West, adding that he expects the new addition to be completed by March or April.
Diane Larkin, who along with her brother Alfred Bahna, has owned the Hallmark since 1986, said the decision to fold was made after news that Walgreens would be moving into the neighborhood.
The store’s last day in business day will be Feb. 28.
“Walgreens sells Hallmark cards, they sell the candy, they sell the gifts,” she said. “It’s going to be very difficult for us to compete with that.”
So when Tharm offered to lease the roughly 2,000-foot space to expand his grocery operation, Larkin said she and Bahna knew they would be martyring their beloved business to a worthy cause.
“The neighborhood needs a supermarket, and next door wants to expand their supermarket,” she said.
Along with the incoming competition, Larkin also cited rising costs as the reason for the greeting card shop’s departure. She said the decision to close up after so many years has been hard to swallow.
"We’ve seen a lot of changes. We’ve gone through a lot of different things with the neighborhood. I raised my children in this store," she said.
Though Larkin, who has lived in the same 11th Avenue home since 1978, plans to remain in Windsor Terrace and continue her other job as a teacher, she said she will miss playing such an active role in the community.
“We’ve been here for so long. We really love the neighborhood, we love the community and the people,” she said.
“It’s going to be very difficult.”