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Yesterday's Times investigated the phenomenon of chain stores that only exist in brownstone Brooklyn. The article paints Smith Street's Area empire, which includes a toy store, a yoga studio, and a day spa, as a model of recession-proof retail clumping. The trick, says Area owner Loretta Gendville, is that nobody wants to get on the subway. “In Brooklyn, people stay in their neighborhood — you have your one or two parks you go to and your coffee shops...I wanted to create little stores so that people didn’t necessarily have to travel.” In other words, if you want your shop to succeed, open it off the F train. [NYT]