Barkenhagen: 42° is troubled but not closing

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Robin Barkenhagen reached out to The Chronicle saying he wants to refute rumors that his downtown Glens Falls business 42 Degrees would shut down.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Mr. Barkenhagen said of the business that is both a tavern and a retailer of art glass, cannabis-related products and CBD.

Mr. Barkenhagen said he had a falling out with Brian Bronzino, his partner and landlord from Brooklyn who has bought several Glens Falls buildings, including the Colvin Building where 42 Degrees operates.

Mr. Barkenhagen had acted as spokesman for the elusive developer.

Mr. Bronzino, in an exchange of texts with The Chronicle, said, “I’m sorry, I can’t comment at this time.”

Mr. Barkenhagen describes several “sniping” back-and-forths between the men including an eviction attempt, but says Mr. Bronzino just offered and he signed a new two-year lease for the store and Tavern, good through February 2025.

“Even if it doesn’t work out at this location, I’m not giving up either 42 Degrees or the tavern,” Mr. Barkenhagen insists.

Mr. Barkenhagen said he is struggling to survive but “I’m not going to give up….I am going to perservere.”

“The Tavern [upstairs] is going really, really great, but the store [on the first floor] is draining everything,” Mr. Barkenhagen said. “I’ve cut hours,” and he’s down to two employees and himself.

“Things were going great when Covid hit, and then there was all this excess money the kids had, $600 in Covid payments. We thrived through Covid.”

Now, without that extra cash in pockets, and after what Mr. Barkenhagen characterizes as a series of poor choices and losses, “I’m hugely in debt,” he says, and in danger of declaring bankruptcy.

“I sold the popcorn machine, a glassblowing machine, to raise money. Anything we don’t need is for sale.”

Mr. Barkenhagen opened 42 Degrees in 2009 in what is now Park & Elm restaurant. “We just had our 13th 4/20 party,” the April 20 celebration that refers not-so-obliquely to a time of day to smoke marijuana. “There will be a 14th, 15th and 16th Four-Twenty,” he asserts.

Mr. Barkenhagen says Mr. Bronzino funded a glass blowing competition at his original shop in 2018, and invested in the company in 2019.

About Brian Bronzino

Mr. Bronzino has said he happened upon Glens Falls on a bus ride and purchased several buildings using an inheritance from his grandmother.

He owns the Ridge Street building that houses [farmacy] restaurant. Upstairs, the City is installing an indoor vertical farm. He and Mr. Barkenhagen partnered in Mr. Bronzino’s purchase of 88 Dix Avenue Plaza in Glens Falls, with a goal of installing a marijuana dispensary.

Mr. Bronzino also bought the long-ago blacksmith shop at the foot of Glen Street hill, but later sold it to Christian and Melanie Weber of Common Roots.

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