Today’s news:

National Wholesale Liquidators closing on 71st Avenue

The economic recession is about to swallow National Wholesale Liquidators in Kew Gardens Hills, and some borough residents say they are concerned about the future of the area without the giant retailer at 71st Avenue and Kissena Boulevard.

William Espana, an employee at Amy’s Deli, across the street from the National Wholesale Liquidator, said the chain’s closing could hurt business for the smaller shops in the area. “Many of the people who would go to shop there would then come in here and get coffee, tea, sandwiches, a bite to eat,” Espana said.

“Things are already tough, and now what?” Espana shrugged.

National Wholesale Liquidators, which opened 18 years ago at its current location in Kew Gardens Hills, will close its doors in early February. Since news of the closing has spread around the borough, residents have been packing the shop that sells discounted goods from housewares to clothes.

“I always buy my stuff here, and it sucks it’s closing,” said South Ozone Park resident Naomi Decayette.

“You get great deals here,” added Kenny Vaughan, who frequently made the trek from Staten Island to Kew Gardens Hills to pick up items at the store. “I shopped here often, and it’s a shock to hear it won’t be around.”

According to a report by Reuters, General Electric Capital cut National Wholesale Liquidators’ credit line by $15 million, making it difficult for the company to pay its bills.

The Kew Gardens Hills store is one of 37 National Wholesale Liquidators to soon close. Ten of the company’s 47 stores in 12 states will remain open, including the Long Island City location. Stores in the Bronx and Brooklyn will also remain open.

“So many of the customers are disappointed,” said the Kew Gardens Hills’ store manager, Samba Saidysall. “They really liked this place.”

Hillcrest Estates residents Jackie Forestal and Alice Scherwin said they are concerned about what will move into the soon empty space.

“We hope whoever does come in here will be a viable store for the community,” Scherwin said.

Forestal said Kissena Boulevard is already dotted with empty shops and hopes the bargain store’s closing does not further contribute to the deterioration of the area. Next to National Wholesale Liquidator is a closed laundromat, a shuttered hair salon, and a closed kosher restaurant.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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