Brookside mainstay Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream & Topsy’s Popcorn is relocating in the neighborhood.
Owner Bob Ramm has purchased the Party Warehouse business and building at 101 W. 63rd St.
He plans a major remodeling that will downsize the 4,000-square-foot Party Warehouse to 2,800 square feet on the west side of the building.
His Baskin-Robbins and Topsy’s operation will continue to operate at 336 W. 63rd St. until mid-August. It will then relocate to a 1,200-square-foot space on the east side of the Party Warehouse building for a scheduled mid-September opening.
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Ramm opened Topsy’s in another Brookside location in 1967. In 1980 he opened Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream at its current location and in the late 1990s, he moved Topsy’s to the Baskin-Robbins space, combining the two businesses.
The ice cream/popcorn combo has been a strong neighborhood draw since then. But when the lease expired in late June it was not renewed.
“I never wanted to leave,” Ramm said.
Avenues Bistro, at 338 W. 63rd St, has leased the space and plans to expand. It will use the addition for private events or as a dining area during peak periods. Avenues hopes to open the room in November.
“We are working with Bob to give him time to relocate,” said Joe Birch, owner of Avenues Bistro.
Icon Architecture’s new design for the Party Warehouse building includes a pitched roof with dormers, a brick and cut limestone facade, decorative motifs and two entrances.
“It’s a plain box and we need to add some character to keep up with the Brookside theme,” Ramm said.
Ramm purchased the business and building from Janet Liepsner for an undisclosed price.
Liepsner took over the former Paper Warehouse a decade ago, renaming it Party Warehouse. But after a decade of running up and down stairs with boxes and changing out the store for every holiday, she wanted to slow down. When Ramm approached her about buying the business she had three criteria — he had to pay the price she wanted, he had to keep operating the party store and he had to keep her longtime employees.
“The ice cream business, the popcorn business and the party business are a good match,” said Liepsner, who previously operated another business in Brookside. “I’m a Brookside girl, I really love that shopping center. I figure if I can’t find it in Brookside, I don’t need it. But I didn’t want to die at my desk and that was the way it was headed.”
First Washington Realty Inc., of Bethesda, Md., and the California Public Employees' Retirement System recently completed a deal to buy about 130,000 square feet in the Brookside shopping district from BKS Real Estate LLC, including the buildings housing Baskin-Robbins/Topsy’s and Avenues Bistro.
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