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Bayside gift shop to close its doors

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A popular Bayside shop will soon permanently close its doors after 35 years in business.

The owners of Top Drawer Gift Shop, at 39-36 Bell Blvd., have decided not to renew the store’s lease after it expires next month. Jeffrey Serin, whose wife Karen has operated the store out of the same location for more than three decades, said the couple decided that with the lease expiring and their first grandchild having recently arrived, the time was right to give up their business in favor of spending more time with their family.

“Six days a week without a day off, the time was just right,” Serin said.

The door to the shop now greets customers with signs promoting a “retirement sale,” with items selling at up to 40 percent and 50 percent off, according to Jeffrey. He said he and his wife have not made a formal announcement about the store’s upcoming closing, but instead are relying on the signs to let people know what is to come.

“The sign is up but it’s really all word of mouth,” he said. “One person tells another and they tell someone and it just spreads.”

Top Drawer has become known among Bayside residents as one of the best gift shops in the area that sells items such as jewelry, women’s purses and antiques. Over the years, the store has gained a strong following of frequent customers whom Jeffrey said are unhappy to hear that their favorite local gift shop will no longer be open.

“It’s all very positive but also sad,” Jeffrey said of the feedback he has received so far. “They knew they could find items for gifts at a reasonable price point and people are disappointed but very understanding. They’re happy for my wife.”

The Serins’ lease on the property ends Feb. 28, but Jeffrey said it is hard to pinpoint a date when the store will officially close. As of right now, he said they are first trying to get rid of as much merchandise as possible before deciding how much longer to stay open. With prices as low as they are, Jeffrey said items are “flying out” of the store.

When the Serins do shut their shop’s doors for the final time, it will be a bittersweet moment for the couple who has run their family business in the same location for so many years. Jeffrey and Karen will leave behind the beloved customers who made their store successful for so long, and he said it is those patrons whom his wife will miss most about the store.

“She’ll miss the vast majority of her customer base, but if it wasn’t the right time with our grandchild here, then she would miss it much more,” he said. “But now she has someone to spend that time with.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.

Updated 11:34 am, January 19, 2014
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