"This is always such a delicate issue for a community, but I don't believe that in this case the Alemeda's predicament makes a larger statement about the conditions of retail in Carroll Gardens. Big corporate chain stores are not itching to get onto Smith Street and shop owners are not looking for pre-gentrification rents. This is just a personal story of a greedy landlord.
As a store owner myself for 10 years (just a few doors down from the lovely Perfect Corner) I'm quite tuned in to the actual rents that are being paid vs. the asking prices set by landlords and real estate agents. They are vastly different - often by several thousand dollars per month! Some landlords on the strip are not business people who understand the market. They are often just families (many of whom have inherited the building or are attempting to take over for their aging parents) and their rent expectations are grandiose. They are already sitting on gold mines and they know it. The rent roll for my building is 100K annually and my landlord still complains about nominal RE taxes and insurance. He repairs nothing for me and does no maintenance.
The restaurateurs and shop owners should be given some credit for the changes which have taken place on Smith street since the mid 90's. They invested tens of thousands of dollars to renovate run-down stores, keep the streets clean, safe and beautified, and (most importantly) provide services to the community making this neighborhood so darn fantastic.
And now in 2012, most of us are teetering on the edge. The poor economy has taken a toll on us. Joe and Marion have fallen victim to an unrealistic landlord who, in this climate, has made it impossible for them to continue elsewhere. They will walk away from their renovations - leaving the space and this neighborhood better than it was delivered to them. So, sadly the block loses a quality frame shop and two fine people. I lose nice neighbors."