By DANIEL OFFNER
It’s been more than a year and a half since the former Quiznos Sub in downtown Harrison closed shop, and now a new business plans to open its doors at the intersection of Halstead and Harrison avenues.
The Cozy Cafe—not to be confused with the Cosi franchise—has staked claim to the property with plans of opening a new restaurant, serving specialty sandwiches, salads, wraps, coffee, espresso, desserts, frozen yogurt, smoothies and shakes to customers.
Anthony D’Arpino, president of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce, said it is always a good thing for the central business district whenever a new business decides to open doors in town.
“It shows signs of growth in the area,” D’Arpino said. “[The Cozy Cafe] picked a highly visible location…I think they will do fine there.”
While the new eatery shows signs of growth in a struggling retail hub, many residents are not as confident as the chamber that the new business will perform well.
“I just think it’s great that another business is opening up and I hope it’s able to sustain itself,” said Robert Caputo, 34.
With a high volume of vacant storefronts on Halstead Avenue, Harrison’s struggle to keep and attract new businesses downtown has taken a highly visible toll on the town’s main street. For decades, the town has sought to revitalize Halstead Avenue, but has remained in flux as its neighbors, like Mamaroneck and Rye, have managed to thrive in recent years.
Republican Councilwoman Marlene Amelio, who co-founded the Downtown Buisness Revitalization Committee, told The Harrison Report that how long a business is able to thrive downtown is partly dependent on consumer need.
“There are some that manage to remain in business through generations, and there are some, like Quiznos, that don’t even make it through a year or two,” Amelio said.
However, local consumers are uncertain whether or not they feel the need for a new cafe downtown.
“It’s definitely a change,” said Samantha Lagana, 20. “I just think they should be opening something different instead of another coffee shop.”
Within walking distance from the new site of the Cozy Cafe, consumers can already grab a quick bite and a cup of Joe from restaurants like the TNT Lunchonette or Casa D’Italia. In addition to the existing competition, issues concerning parking downtown could drive away business at the location.
“I think parking is going to be a problem, but I think it might work,” said Sue Sabia, 70. “People like that kind of place…where you come in, have a nice sandwich, hang out.”
-With reporting by COREY BAUMER