Nostrand Avenue is about to get another coffee shop.
The owners of Connecticut Muffin said they plan to open the seventh branch of their Brooklyn-based business on the corner of Nostrand and Bergen Street.
The move adds a second, more upscale, cafe to the Crown Heights strip, which became home to a Dunkin Donuts on the south corner of Eastern Parkway several years ago.
The shop will move into 615 Nostrand, currently the home of Barbara’s Flowers. Barbara’s will move around the corner in the same building, to 1096-1098 Bergen St.
Yasser Abdelhadi, who owns the coffee chain with his brothers Mohamed and Ahmed, said he chose the spot because of the lack of similar offerings in the area, as well as the appeal of the space itself with its corner location and potential for outdoor seating along Bergen.
“We really feel the neighborhood can use the service,” said Abdelhadi, who grew up in Bensonhurst and still lives in Brooklyn.
The Nostrand Avenue shop will be open seven days a week from about 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offer baked goods, soups sandwiches, coffee, and most important for many, free wifi.
Although the brothers have shops in Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, they’ve also opened stores in more up and coming neighborhoods including on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene in 2002 and Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park in 2007. Their sixth location opened in 2008 on Fulton Street in Fort Greene. (For those wondering, the Conneticut in the name comes from where the first shop got its muffins.)
“We’re looking forward to coming to Crown Heights,” Abdelhadi said. “I think that it’s going to be the next neighborhood, I really do.”
“They want to take chances with an up-and-coming neighborhood,” said Barbara Brown-Allen, an associate broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman who lives near Nostrand Avenue helped convince the Abdelhadi brothers to lease the space (as a neighborhood advocate, not a broker; she didn’t get a commission from the deal, she said).
“I think people will take notice. Now that Conneticut Muffin has come in, other businesses will take an interest, too," she said.
Barbara’s Flowers owner Fred Powell, who owns the entire corner building, said he had been planning to move out of the 109-year-old shop temporarily to renovate, so it made sense to renovate first the vacant storefronts in the same building first, then move permanently and lease the corner space to the Abdelhadis.
The corner has had a flower since 1903 when Calas Brothers Florist opened. Powell and his wife, Barbara, took over the business in 1972.
“I think that it will be a welcome presence on the avenue,” Powell said. “I think that Nostrand Avenue is on the upswing and I think Connecticut Muffin is reflective of that.”
But not everyone is cheering the change.
“It’s a wait and see,” said Atim Oton, chair of Community Board 8’s Economic Development Committee.
While a business like Connecticut Muffin would add to the “vitality” of the avenue, it could also lead to increased rents and take business away from nearby merchants, such as restaurants and bodegas that already sell coffee and baked goods, she said.
“Hopefully we don’t lose another small business,” she said.