2013-06-28 / Community

Giving Rockaway The Business

By Dan Guarino

Old businesses are reopening and new businesses, like surf shops, Subways, pizza places, wine bars, garden centers and more- opening all over the Rockaways.

All have been welcomed as part of a recovery that many hope will blossom into a renewal and renaissance.

Rockaway is ready for a makeover.

A few months ago, The Wave asked readers what businesses they would like to see in the Rockaways.

Some wishes have come true, like restaurants, bike shops and bakeries that have opened or reinvented themselves.

Others are just waiting for a sharp entrepreneur or savvy business chain to bring them to profitable fruition here.

All opinions, of course, are the reader’s own. Peering into the future, here’s what they had to say.

“Hi, I would really love to see a Starbucks or an Applebee’s open up over in Arverne By the Sea or in the vicinity…”

-Tara Endall

“Love that you put this in the paper. Even made a Facebook post about this.

We're all sick of nail salons and dollar stores. I think it would be great to have new businesses that we now all leave the area to go to. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Starbucks--these places are always busy. Kids party venues, a movie theater (would be great) although unlikely. (We need) places to go and things to do during winter. And stores and shops where local kids/teenagers can get part time jobs.”

-Jaime McDermott

“I think it would be fabulous to see a Trader Joe's here. I'm not crazy about Petco. Overpriced and we have an awesome pet supply and grooming establishment called Rockapup on Beach 116th Street. Lisa, the owner is knowledgeable and we love her store. Petco would hurt her business.

Maybe a chain like Applebee's or some affordable family oriented place to have a night out in the neighborhood.” - Elizabeth Gardner

“A Trader Joes is a great idea. I would absolutely love any place I can get fresh organic produce that looks good and doesn't cost an arm and a leg!” - Antoinette DeMetropolis

“It would be nice to have a diner or maybe a Chipotle.

-Rosalyn R. Kingsberry

“I wrote Trader Joe's a few years back citing that it would be perfect for Rockaway and south Brooklyn as well. One can only wish. A few good restaurants would also enhance the neighborhood.”


(We’re) “in desperate need of pastry, bakery, fruit and vegetable markets. It would be fantastic to see Trader Joe's and Whole Foods come to this community. Chipotle Mexican Grill can open up at the now closed Wendy's.

This beautiful beachfront community is worthy of having the opportunities to live and eat healthy just like the rest of NYC. Let’s put our money into our own backyard.”

-Sandra Rosado

“I have been calling and writing letters via email to the corporate office of Starbucks Coffee House, Chipotle, The Olive Garden, Johnny Rockets Hamburger Restaurant and The Gap to try to get them interested in opening up a business in the Rockaway community.

I have expressed to the companies that they can contact me for information regarding the community, real estate information and if they have any general questions that I can help them with.

It would be great if you can also bring attention to these companies regarding interest in the Rockaway Community.”

-Jill Puma

“My family and friends have been shopping at Trader Joe's for many years.

Their products are healthier and lower in salt than in most stores which older people on restricted diets would appreciate.

Aldi's is another store that would be affordable for those on a tighter budget.

They would certainly be a welcome sight in Rockaway.”

-Gerry Allen

“Here is my "wish list".

Trader Joe's - I’ve already sent them emails - maybe more would help. would love to see them at one of the old Key Food locations (if Key does not open.)

Fairway - any good food store would be welcome.

Perhaps a creative individual would take on our idea of an International Bakery for the Rockaways. They could get wholesale breads and cakes that represent the diversity of the Rockaway Community - wonderful Mexican pastries, Irish brown bread and soda bread, Polish and Russian, Caribbean. There is a similar concept called the Hot Bread Kitchen (hotbreadkitchen.org). I emailed them several months ago also. Some good wholesalers like Terranova in the Bronx, Amy's bread (or) even a Zaro's would be welcome

Doughnut Plant (doughnutplant.com) - they only have two locations in NY - maybe they would want to expand.

A good Italian deli (would be great). My dream would be to have my favorite Bronx Arthur Avenue store - Teitel Brothers - open a branch here.

A GNC or the Vitamin Shop (would be good).

I think the priority for most of my neighbors is having good, fresh food - especially produce. An independent would be welcome. Howard Beach has Bella Frutta. I think a store like that would do well here.”


“Subject: Store Suggestions for Rockaway -Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

-For Broad Channel a bank... TD, Bank of America... Really any bank

-Trendy food establishments”

-Scott Maestro

“My sister and I would like to see the following business come to Far Rockaway:

- Burger King- Pathmark- Rite Aide

- Wendy's
- Walgreen's

TD Bank. More banks should come to Far Rockaway in order to meet the needs of the vast population here.

The shopping and banking needs of the people in Far Rockaway are not being met, and would appreciate assistance in this regard.”

- Mercedes and Patricia Silva

“Trader's Joe sounds great and how about a real awesome dinner! I would love to see a diner back in Rockaway.

I've never experienced the diner before on Beach116th street! You can say I'm a new resident. I've been living here since 2010 with my dear husband, who was born and raised here.”

- Pamela Stamoulis

“It would be wonderful if Trader Joe's opened up on Beach Channel Drive, on the property formally occupied by Wendy's.

What we need is more shopping. A Marshall's. or TJ Max would be most welcome.”

-Deanna Augustinas

“How about a Panera's where the closed Wendy's now sits (across from the Waldbaum's parking lot)?”

-Pete Stubben

The Rockaways have spoken. Anyone have more suggestions about new businesses for the Peninsula or Broad Channel?

Or the ear of businesses which would be interested in doing business here?

Send suggestions to Dan Guarino at dan@rockawave.com.

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