Giftalicious owner Demetra Sirica said last week she made the right decision moving her bakery and gift shop to the other side of the railroad tracks in Douglaston.
Open for about a week at 40-39 235 St., the business has left its original location at 42-34 235 St. to a larger site. Community activists are hoping the move will revitalize the area, which has some empty stores.
Sirica said Thursday her business has increased already, especially through Manhattan-bound commuters on the LIRR. She is selling breakfast as well as lunch and is adding hot foods and pizza by April 15.
There already appears to be improvements nearby. A martial arts academy is opening soon next door to the bakery. On the other side of the store is a posted stop-work order for various electrical problems.
Sirica believes a community center is moving in, but area leaders are unaware of it. Douglas Montgomery, a member of the Douglaston Local Development Corp., said the empty store has a lot of electrical problems and it is up to the landlord to fix them before a business can move in.
He is thrilled with Sirica’s success, saying her business will revitalize the area.
Giftalicious replaces the Douglaston Market, which was open for 12 years and was a popular spot for commuters and parents of students at nearby PS 98 to gather for coffee, food and conversation. But the Department of Health issued numerous violations last year and the store closed last June.
Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Chamber of Commerce, believes the bakery will be the anchor for the strip and her group is working “diligently with the landlords to find occupants for the two remaining spots.”
Businesses remaining on the strip include a dry cleaner, a shoemaker, an architect and a dance and exercise center.
Meanwhile, Sirica has promised to work with the Douglaston Chamber of Commerce to host events or help with other programs, as the Douglaston Market did previously. “We’re good with that because we are part of the community,” she said.