During the pandemic businesses have struggled to stay afloat—imagine how difficult it would be to open a neighborhood business in the midst of the pandemic. That is exactly what faced African American Patrick Moore, when he opened QUICK STOP 99 Cent Up Discount Corp., located in the Oceanhill Brownsville section of Brooklyn (at 2150 Fulton Street between Rockaway Avenue and Thomas Boyland Street) on Sunday, Nov. 1. Moore is slowly but surely developing his customer base and is determined to make his business a success.
When you first walk through the door you come upon a hospitality table. “Hospitality, I was raised with it. It’s just something in my heart. I love to give back. My community, when you walk in feel welcome to a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate. You could walk in here and not even buy anything, but just have yourself a cup of coffee, cup of tea, it’s just a certain type of love that this brings to me. It’s there for us,” Moore said.
Born and raised in the Oceanhill Brownsville community, living in Kingsborough Project as a youth and attending local schools P.S. 28, IS 55 and Boys and Girls High School, Moore wanted to open his business to give back to the community that influenced him greatly as a youth. “When I was younger there were Black businesses in the neighborhood; the older guys in the neighborhood used to tell us that those businesses were the ones that supported the children in the community. If a business didn’t give back to the children in the community, then it wasn’t a good business. I saw the Black-owned businesses when I was young doing that and it stuck with me,” Moore said.
Moore decided to open a 99 cent store after riding up and down Fulton Street. “I looked at a 10-block radius and it just seemed like there were no Black-owned businesses in the area. I had a vision to open up a 99 cent store to have different brands of products for the community, something to give back to the community,” Moore explained.
Moore’s inventory is comprehensive and includes: sanitizing supplies that kill COVID-19, Lysol wipes, Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, Dettol spray and other brand-name products; hardware supplies; clothing; all-occasion balloons and all-occasion cards (99 cents); Christmas decorations and wrapping paper; blankets, sheet sets and comforters; aluminum trays; bathroom rugs and accessories; kitchen accessories; personal hygiene products; laundry products; hair products; beauty supplies; candy; dog harnesses, leashes and pet carriers; along with electronics—blue-tooth, heaters, blenders and portable speakers.
Since its opening on Nov. 1, Moore and his best friend of 40 years, Rico Jean-Louis, have worked in the store seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. During these trying times Moore admitted, “It’s really been a challenge. A lot of motivation and determination just to pull it through. When I put my mind to a project, I go into it with baby steps towards a short-term goal and then the challenge to complete it. I had a fear of going into this because I did it with my savings, but I knew I wanted to do something to give back to the community.”
These days before a store can open precautions have to be taken and Moore is very conscious of this fact. “First thing in the morning when we come in Rico and I take our temperatures, if we are under 100 degrees we work. Then we start to do wiping with Clorox wipes, sanitizing the counters, doorknobs, register, railing on the display racks, sweeping, mopping, I dust, we have free disposable masks and free hand sanitizer for the customers. We have 6 feet distancing and make sure the store is not cluttered,” Moore shared.
Moore is glad to get inventory ideas from his customers. “If a customer doesn’t see an item in the store, I will ask them if they can leave me the brand name and I put it on my inventory list and when I go to my distributors I buy those items to accommodate my customers,” he explained.
Considering his goal as a Black business owner in his community, Moore explained his long-term goals that included working with other Black-owned businesses and making special accommodations for the elderly.
“I want my business to be successful, but my main target for this business is for me to build it with a love for the community and to demonstrate a positive role model for the youth of the neighborhood. The businesses I grew up with that were Black-owned truly benefited the neighborhood and they left a lasting impression on me and I too, want my business to benefit the community that raised me. I want the community to be comfortable to come inside the business and get the daily items they need. A long-term goal I have is to come together with other Black-owned businesses in the community on a monthly basis and brainstorm ideas to enable our longevity in the community and to lay the foundation for other Black-owned businesses to develop and thrive in this neighborhood. I have already started to speak to Black business owners and we are on the same page. One of the initiatives I’m working on for my business is to develop a website for it that can be utilized by the elders in the community to place orders for items and have free delivery. I want to be able to take care of the elderly to relieve their anxiety,” Moore stated.
Neighborhood people glad to see a Black-owned business in the community have been stopping by to congratulate Moore and encourage him. Recently Pastor Dr. Alphonso J. Velasquez stopped by and commented, “It’s important that we keep our money coming back into our community. This is in my block and it’s a brother. This used to be the ’50s and ’60s mindset and we lost it. We have to get it back. I believe you’re going to prosper and do well and you’re here for the next two generations or three or four. We have to have a foundation for expansion.”