Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sukon's Will Close in October
By Patricia Adams
An icon in southern Queens will be closing by the end of October according to Sukon’s owner Scott Hausser. The retail outlet for children’s furniture, first established in 1923 by Harry Sukon, will close its Ozone Park doors for good next month.
Customers continue to file through the store, if not to buy, then just to remember. “It’s amazing,” said Lori Hausser whose husband Scott has owned the store for the last 21 years, “my husband started here 33 years ago when he was 15. He was a stock boy.” The fourth owner of the store, Scott Hausser is now forced to close the store as a consequence of what he says are “many factors, but all relating to the economy.”
The news of the store’s closing has touched customers and employees alike. “We’re like a family here,” said Maria Blandino. She and co-worker Carlo Aufiero started at the store 14 years ago three days apart. “I am so upset; I can’t even begin to describe it. You can’t imagine what it has been like to work for Scott. He is absolutely the best boss in the world. For all his time here he has taken care of his customers and his staff.” Blandino pointed out that there was virtually no turnover of staff as the real testament to the type of guy Scott is.
And the glowing thoughts of Hausser and his business methods trickle on down through his customers. “So many people have called or stopped by to say how sorry they are or to share a story,” said Lori Hausser. She recalls a customer who stopped by last week. “I am 65 years old,” the woman said, “and I brought my daughter with me today. We’re buying baby furniture for my grandchild just like my mother did for me, right here at this store.”
Yet another customer, an 82-year-old woman, called in to say that her mother purchased her baby furniture from Harry Sukon. She had called to say she’ll miss the store and that she was glad she’d had the chance to buy furniture there for her great-grandchild.
Lori Hausser recants the stories of customers with a degree of familiarity—“My parents bought furniture here for my sister 47 years ago and I wound up marrying the owner.”
On and on go the stories about the store that developed such a rich history over almost nine decades of operation. Scott Hausser says now he doesn’t really know what the future holds. “I just haven’t had enough time to think about what will come next. The present is so overwhelming.”
And the business of closing his doors for the last time is obviously painful for Hausser on a number of fronts. “I have been in retail forever. It’s in my blood,” but he says, “My biggest concern is the staff. It’s going to be very hard to get jobs.”
When asked about maybe re-opening in the future, Scott Hausser looks up, his head slightly tilted. “You know,” he says, “one thing I’ve learned is never to say never.”