Calabar leaves Washington for Franklin, Calling it a 'Better Fit'

Fourteen months after it was closed by a fire, the Prospect Heights gift and clothing store is slated to reopen August 1.


The owner of has opted to reopen the gift, clothing and jewelry store in Crown Heights, leaving behind the Washington Avenue storefront that a year ago.

The surprise move comes two months after owner Atim Oton  between Lincoln and St. Johns Place. But on Friday, Oton announced via Facebook that she had opted to lease a storefront two blocks east citing the “more diverse businesses on Franklin Avenue that fit our business brand.”

Oton, who co-chairs Community Board 8’s economic development committee, , selling handmade items, clothing and art objects from over 40 African, Asian and South American countries. The store’s name comes from Heloise’s hometown in Nigeria, where Atim was born.

On June 4, 2011, seven years after the store opened, a massive fire , a four-story building that was empty except for a bodega on the ground floor. Damage from the fire forced four adjoining businesses, Ali’s Laundromat, , Boost Mobile and , to shut down. soon after.

In September, Oton opened a second location for Calabar Imports in Dumbo and continued to wait for repairs to be completed at the heavily damaged Washington Avenue store.

The new store at 708 Franklin Avenue between Park and Prospect replaces one of three storefronts rented by Lasting Impressions beauty salon, which is reducing its size.

In choosing Franklin Avenue, Calabar joins more than a dozen businesses that have opened on the burgeoning Crown Heights strip in the past two years including , , , , , , Rosebud Vintage, , 739 Franklin, , and .

Calabar is slated to open August 1, with celebratory activities August 1 through 3 from noon to 8 p.m.

Calabar Imports, 708 Franklin Ave., bet. Park and Prospect, 718-638-4288.

miggs July 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I think thi is actually between prospect and park
Amy Sara Clark July 19, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Thanks for the catch miggs. I've corrected the story. -Amy


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