Metro

Beloved NYC neighborhood staple Crest Hardware & Urban Garden Center closing its doors

A beloved Brooklyn hardware store that became a neighborhood staple — featuring a pet pig and hosting weddings and art shows while peddling hammers — is closing, likely to make room for condos.

Crest Hardware & Urban Garden Center will become Williamsburg’s latest victim of gentrification in August — 62 years after opening its doors on Metropolitan Avenue between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue.

“In the end, we are facing the same plight as many other small businesses in our community and city,” the iconic store’s owner, Joseph Franquinha, said in an online statement Monday.

Crest Hardware, a staple in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for 62 years, is about to close its doors for good in August. Michael Nagle

“Sadly, our property partners did not grant us an opportunity to renew our lease and have chosen to sell the property in which Crest sits.”

The owner told local outlet Brownstoner, “What the new buyers do with it will be up to them. But one can assume condos.’’

Franquinha and his relatives own the land that the shop sits on, and he said he wanted to continue to try to make a go of the family business but was ultimately “outvoted.”

He fought back tears as he recalled to The Post on Tuesday how the shop —  known for its wide selection, creative vibe and friendly service —  grew from a small hardware store, started by his late father, Manny, across the street in 1962, into an eclectic retailer of cool items.

Having started full-time at Crest in 2004, Franquinha assumed a “managerial role” in 2006 and became owner in 2009. He worked alongside Manny until his death in 2017 at 89.

Father and son sometimes differed in business philosophy. When the younger Franquinha wanted to dedicate some of Crest’s space to a garden center, his father scoffed at the idea.

The shop’s staff, which peaked at 30 employees during COVID-19,  has since dwindled to 18 as the store prepares to shutter for good. Michael Nagle

“He never took a long vacation, but he went to Portugal for two weeks in 2007, and while he was away, we built the original garden center out back with basic annuals and perennials for sale,” Franquinha said.

“When he came back, he said, ‘You better make this work.”

And it did.

The Brooklyn staple was renowned for its customer service. Michael Nagle

Crest’s inventory evolved from there to include cookware, home goods, art supplies, and even popular Crest-brand apparel created by Franquinha’s wife, Liza.

“The garden center was the locomotive of our business for 20 years, but we never lost sight of hardware,” said Franquinha, 41, of Ridgewood, Queens.

“We had a large artist demographic shopping here, and they wanted high-end spray paint, and they were willing to spend more money for better art materials.”

The hardware store also has a lush garden center. Michael Nagle

Customers were dismayed to learn of the store’s demise.

“I loved Crest Hardware, not just because they were a local business, but because they had everything,” said Austin Moore, 39, a production sound mixer who lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“The customer service was unbeatable; everyone who worked there knew their stuff.”

The back of the shop features greenery for sale, too. Stefano Giovannini

Crest’s staff, which peaked at 30 employees during COVID-19,  has since dwindled to 18 as the store prepares to shutter for good.

Crest’s mascot and Franquinha’s pet pig, Franklin, will be forced to relocate from the shop’s backyard pen, which he has inhabited since 2010.  

Finlay the parrot, another Crest denizen, will also need new digs.

The store is a neighborhood staple that has hosted everything from weddings to art shows. Michael Nagle

“Some people would come here just to see Franklin and Finlay,’’ said Crest staffer Liza Franquinha.

Eric Swick, 31, Bushwick, Brooklyn, who works at its garden center, said, “It’s hard to visualize Metropolitan Avenue without Crest.”

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