Two of Belmont’s oldest and beloved businesses will soon say good-bye
Left with no choice, Mount Carmel Catholic Books and Gifts at 625 E. 187th Street and B & G Clothes at 586 E. 187th Street will officially close at the end of the year.
Although Mount Carmel Catholic Books and Gifts has avoided closure in the past, the 50-year-old storefront can no longer afford a continuously increasing rent and its owners are sad to say that their final day of business will be Saturday, December 31.
Conveniently located next door to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, the shop is selling off all of its remaining prayer cards, religious books, rosaries, statues and more, during its final weeks.
Belmont Business Improvement District president Frank Franz said it’s unfortunate for the whole Belmont community.
“We’re all absolutely heartbroken and the entire neighborhood will feel the loss of these two businesses,” Franz said. “It never occurred to me that one day these stores would no longer be here to serve the Belmont community. I shopped there personally and now I have to go elsewhere. Our neighborhood will certainly miss them.”
B & G clothes nearly doubled the book store’s tenure. It has been a fixture of the neighborhood since Santo Giunta opened it in 1918. After Santo passed away, his nephew, Angelo Borgese, purchased the store and kept it family operated.
After 93 years, Angelo’s son Vincent, has made the decision to close the doors of B & G forever. Borgese acknowledged that a tough economy, a diminishing clientele for tailored clothes, and the competition from department stores, led to his decision.
“It was the perfect storm that led to my decision to close,” Borgese said. “B & G flourished when everybody was buying suits. It was a time where no matter where a man of the working class worked, he wore a suit to work. Now that’s not the case anymore. The newer generation no longer shops in specialty stores such as this.”
Borgese said the thought of closing the store had been discussed for several years, but the official decision came this past April. Now, as Borgese prepares for the end-of-December closing, he is saying his final goodbyes to customers coming in for their last purchases.
“It’s really tough to let go, but it’s just something we had to do,” he said. “It’s a shame to see all of our again under these circumstances, but it is great to see them one last time.”
Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3383.