Unusual affordable storefronts in NYC

August 25, 2011 2:49:47 PM PDT
It's no secret that real estate prices in New York are sky-high, but there's an option for new businesses trying to find an affordable storefront. It's unusual and making the most of material that's sitting unused and on land that's also sitting unused. The result is a market that's creating jobs, a community and a destination.

Allison Robicelli's first retail venture failed when the market tanked in 2008, but this time around she's opened up a retail branch of her wholesale bakery in a steel container at a new market made up of shipping containers.

"We're always trying to think of what's new in markets or what's a better space for we came up with containers," Eldon Scott said.

Scott of Urban Space, the market's developer, has used containers in London for a market, buildings and businesses. These containers are each 8 by 20 feet. They're sturdy and stackable.

Stores have a front door and are used for their depth.

Food vendors are turned sideways with a row of windows for ordering. The market is located right next to the Dekalb Subway Stop in a space that was being used as a parking lot. Now there are 30 containers in place with more planned.

A retail space in a mall or on a popular street would cost three-to-four times, which is why a container worked for Andriana Spence's new kids store.

For diners, there's a covered picnic table area. While cupcakes are Allison Robicelli's big sellers, she's sweet on what this little market is capable of.

"You can put this in any vacant lot and create industry. Five jobs from this container in 6 weeks," Robicelli said.

By the way, the containers do have electricity and store owners can rebuild their space in unique ways. It makes shopping that much more enjoyable. Dekalb Market is open everyday.