It's quickly becoming a sign of these hard economic times: long-standing community businesses closing their doors for good -- the dreams of their owners hopelessly dashed.
One recent example of this phenomenon is the former Sportsplex, an indoor batting and sports facility located on Newbridge Road.
After operating in Bellmore for the past 18 years, the owners of Sportsplex were unable to reach an agreement with their landlord on a new lease, which resulted in the final closing of their doors on Oct. 8, 2011.
Carl Kopecky, owner of the Nassau Gymnastics Center, situated right next door to Sportsplex, said that the end of his neighbor’s occupancy has had effects upon his business as well.
“What was nice is that we handle mostly girls and Sportsplex handled mostly boys ... we were very compatible businesses,” he said. “A sister would come here and her brother would go to the batting range, or vice versa. Overall, we miss the extra traffic Sportsplex would bring in.”
However, Kopecky said that the overall economy is far more to blame for any hardships local businesses have to endure.
“The economy has had far greater impact on us than a business closing,” he said. “The number of kids in my school is way down ... I’ve watched it decline year by year. 2011 has, quite honestly, been a total disaster for businesses ... it doesn’t matter what business you own.”
As far as the eventual fate of the currently abandoned Sportsplex property, Kopecky envisions something that could benefit the community as a whole.
“I would love to see a community center for kids,” he said. “Every kid is playing on their Blackberry, so their thumbs are strong, but the rest of their bodies aren’t. Schools are cutting gym programs, and kids need a place to go to learn the physical activity they’re missing out on.”
At the moment there are no plans in place for the former Sportsplex property.
Bellmore Patch will regularly spotlight vacant commercial properties in effort to initiate a discussion within the community about alternative uses for these abandoned places. If you'd like to know more about a specific property, please comment below.