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Brothers Michael and Matthew Pintchik, the brains and brawn behind the Pintchik hardware emporium on Flatbush Avenue, have transformed the strip of Bergen Street between Fifth and Flatbush avenues — which they’ve owned for decades — into a little slice of some small town Main Street in just two years.
“This is a labor of love,” said Michael Pintchik, referring to the selection process they went through to bring the cream of the creative crop to their block. “We had to turn down a ton of business people who didn’t appreciate the aesthetic we were creating. We wanted it to be an eclectic community of stores.”
Before the Pintchiks developed their vision, the block was a row of boring offices. Today, the strip is a collection of boutiques, including Bump, a chic maternity store; Babeland, everyone’s favorite spot for sex toys; Ride Brooklyn, a new bike shop; a Lululemon showroom for yoga apparel; and a hip hot dog joint called Bark, among others.
“It was all gray when we got here,” said Sasadi Odunsi, co-owner of Bump, which Pintchik calls the “charter boutique” of the block. “The Pintchiks had a vision for the block, they just needed the right stores — but we didn’t think it could transform this much.”
The wood-framed businesses are anything but commercial looking. The storefronts have been painted different colors — like a Brooklyn version of a neon-colored Miami strip.
Though others see a different inspiration.
“Coming here is like stepping off of Flatbush Avenue into Nantucket,” said Pete Kocher, who co-owns Ride Brooklyn with his wife, Jessica. “People like the vibe.”
And the vibes certainly love the people.
“Our customers are very happy there,” said Claire Cavanah, the owner of Babeland, the vibrator emporium. “You could look at all of Brooklyn and you’d find this is just one of the coolest little blocks—and customers are coming from all over the borough.”
Landlords aren’t anyone’s favorite people — it’s usually just the opposite — but the Pintchiks are no absentee landlords. In fact, their office is around the corner on Flatbush, so they’re hands-on all the time.
“Michael was willing to take risks with the block,” Cavanah said. “To rent to our business you have to understand what we do, and it’s rare to find a landlord who does. I even met his mother.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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