Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Last Days of the Last Kim's

As you may already know, Kim's Video & Music on First Avenue is not long for this world. They've just increased their goodbye discount with a 50% off "Everything Must Go" sale. I was told they expect to close either by the end of July or the middle of August. 

As for reopening elsewhere, I was informed (in typical Kim's style): "The sign says Closing Sale. If we were relocating, it would say Relocating Sale." So, no.

This is the last location of the once great Kim's mini-empire. Originally on Avenue A, opened in 1987 in Yongman Kim's dry cleaners, it expanded to multiple locations, including two on St. Mark's Place, two on Bleecker, and one uptown.

The 21st century has not been kind to Kim's. The Avenue A location, known as the "mean" one, shuttered in 2004. Kim's Underground on Bleecker is now a Duane Reade. In 2008, Kim's Mediapolis uptown closed, thanks to a rent hike from Columbia University and the popularity of Netflix. Also in 2008, Mondo Kim's on St. Mark's shuttered. The inventory shipped to Sicily--and was never heard from again. That was the end of rentals from Kim's.

At the same time, we learned that Kim's would open a retail establishment in the former Kurowycky butcher shop. Many of us were relieved to hear that Kim's would continue--and that a planned upscale celebu-chef restaurant would not open in this space. (Though I was rooting for the XXX rumor to be true.)

Kim's Grand Opening: 2008

Who knows what will come next? But you can bet it will have deep pockets. The listing says "Ideal for Bank, 711, Starbucks."

Yongman Kim let his newsletter subscribers know the score: "We are NOT closing because record stores are dying, business is bad, it's not like it used to be and oh terrible world. The lease is up in July and the rent is being raised to an amount we simply can't work with."

Once again, the rent is too damn high.


Anonymous said...

Wow nice attitude. Fuck them. Good riddance. Assholes to the end.

I mean you ask them if they're gonna reopen and they give a smarmy answer. Ok, eat a dick then.

Anonymous said...

Not too sad about this one. The staff were incredibly rude/condescending. I realize that was part of the "charm" but we're not living in the NYC of the 90's anymore. Plus how can the owner say business was still "great"? Who still rents or buys DVD's? (Except possibly myself, and then very rarely.) The last few times I was in there there was never anyone buying anything, jut a few browsers.

I will miss the time period of Kim's though, with it's creaky floors and dusty shelves (I used to rent videos at the St. Marks/2nd Ave location, above The Gap). The scene at the Ave A location on weekends was always entertaining. Of course that's when the East village, and New York City, was interesting.

Again, I mourn the time period, not the place.

ShatteredMonocle said...

So if it's not because business is bad - if it's just because of the lease on this specific space, then why wouldn't they relocate? I had read previously that the same newsletter mentioned that possibility.

John K said...

Didn't they also briefly have an outpost in Jersey City, right next to the Pavonia-Newport station, some years back? (I don't think it was Other Music--but Kim's....)

Until Word Bookstore opened recently that was one of the rare bookstores selling NEW books (there was one on Jersey Ave. that closed) in downtown Jersey City.

After Kim's left, Phoenix University, the for-profit educational outfit, moved in.

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons for a business to close. It's not always the evil landlord. I know a couple who sold their business because they worked 6-7 days a week for minimal financial rewards and they had no life. Sometimes people have had enough or the profit isn't worth all the work. The super high cost of doing business here- especially utilities, unemployment,workman's comp and the raising of the minimum wage don't help either. Online shopping doesn't help either. Neither does the city who see small business owners as revenue sources who don't have the resources or connections to fight back. It's all these rolled together. Plus the destruction of NYCs middle class. Yes the bros and their ilk are part of it too but I don't think they are the entire reason.
It seems they are the easy scapegoats for a much bigger problem. I wish I knew some answer besides voting for candidates that might help and supporting my favorite locally owned shops. What else should people be doing? It's all depressing.

laura r. said...

they were nice to me, bought my first dvds there in 2005. $16 per disk. i didnt know about pirates.

Anonymous said...

yeah, miss the kim's on st. mark's and second most! damn... video tape! mondo kim's was pretty awesome, and the bleeker one... alas, I'm surprised they lasted this long. who rents or buys videos anymore? torrenting and nutfux seem to rule. also, the whole damned LES has been gutted and remodeled anyway... sigh.

Scout said...

I certainly won't miss Kim's - the only association I have with that store is that they took over the wonderful St. Mark's Baths building when Mayor In-The-Closet Koch shut the bathhouses down in the 80s. Although I know Kim's had nothing to do with that, I still resent them for being any part of the loss of that significant piece of gay history.