downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 36 | January 19 - 25, 2007

Conway’s bargains leaving Downtown this month

By Priya Idiculla

The windows are plastered with signs big enough to cover every inch of glass. The signs are a blank white and all are emblazoned with bright red print: “Closing Sale 50% off at this location only!”

After 13 years at the Downtown location, the Conway at William and Fulton Sts. will be closing at the end of January because the building has been sold to another owner.

Lina Imperatore, the district manager for the store, who started as a department manager and helped open the store in 1994, said that it is a sad thing for many of the customers and employees of this Conway location.

“It is known as a landmark of Downtown,” she said. “All of us are very sad to see it go. I think it just must be a consequence of the area. All of these changes are being made to Downtown and I’m sure there will be something bigger to replace us. I know they’re redoing the building so there might even be condos here instead.”

The New York Times reported last June that Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev and Shaya Boymelgreen, a Brooklyn based developer, bought the building for $59 million and had plans to convert it into condos. Boymelgreen’s office did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

At the store, a woman in her winter jacket clutching a bright marigold skirt lingered at the door. “Is this returnable,” she asked Imperatore. “I bought this for 20 percent off, I have the receipt!”

Imperatore calmly checked whether it was 20 percent off and agreed with the customer, “Yes, they will give you your money back.”

On Tuesday morning, the store was filled with a slew of women and most customers browsed through the racks at a slow pace while hits from the ‘80s played. At the basement level, the store was halfway packed up and ready to move.

Near a rack of sifted-through clothes, a woman held the hanger of a plaid button-down while inspecting another similar shirt. “This is only the second time I’ve been here,” she said. “I saw signs for the closing and I decided to save some money.”

Lydia Francis, who works in the area but lives in Queens, said that she was “very disappointed. All of my co-workers are also pretty upset because you know they’re going to fill this affordable place with a store that’s probably much more expensive. I really do consider it a landmark. ‘Oh, where’s that building? It’s right next to the Conway,’ you’d say to people.”

Imperatore said the Downtown workers would be transferred to other locations. Angel Pizarro, who has been working Downtown for two years, did not mind the move.

“I mean it’s a regular store, you can’t expect it to be here forever. I like working for them and I don’t mind the move at all,” he said.

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