For the past 45 years the Clay Pot has been nested happily in the sleepy hamlet of Park Slope, a beautiful Brooklyn brownstone neighborhood which has repeatedly been voted the best place to live in New York.
The neighborhood loves us and we love our very community based business, but our store has grown in ways that no one could have predicted. For the past few years, it has become obvious that if we were going to continue to grow we were going to have to expand and a new home for our bridal collection that would better serve a city wide business made sense.
We immediately connected with an amazing and super down to earth realtor Andrew Mandell who grew up in Windsor Terrance and knew Brooklyn store well. At the end of our conversation I asked him if he was ready to help us make the leap into the big city. He replied, “Absolutely!”
Andrew and his assistant Lindsay sent us a list of number of spaces in Soho and Nolita, the area we felt would be a good fit for our fledgling 2nd location. On the top of the list was a newly renovated space in Nolita. It was the right size, in the right location, not on a side street, but on Spring Street with great foot traffic, one block from the subway and it had central air! Which in a neighborhood dominated by tenement buildings is almost impossible to find. The landlord, Samy and I clicked right away. He liked my plans for the space, and it turned out that his partner’s wife is a jewelry designer, Catherine Zadeh, that I had been interested in for some time. Kismet!
Meanwhile I left for a two week trip to London and Paris with my daughter Sophia. It was the perfect time to get away from all distractions and spend some quality time together… Shopping. Which is what we both love to do. We spent a great deal of time visiting stores in both cities, noting and photographing details of stores and displays. It was a fertile time and I returned to New York recharged and ready to take on this project.
The next phone call was to one of my oldest friends Tatiana Barhar, who just happens to be a retail store designer for her firm Verdego in Venice CA. While we were still in negotiations for the space, she got a ticket and flew to NY to see the space and work on a design scheme. We had a whirlwind 48 hours together going to practically every store in lower Manhattan, and spending some very dusty hours in the space taping out counters and walls.
We mapped out a plan for the space and got to work. None of this would have been possible without my project manager Pavel formerly of The Loftmen. He and I had worked on a project in the Brooklyn store a few years earlier and had great working relationship. He had lined up the woodworker, metal worker and general contractor in a matter of days. It was because of his expertise and connections that we were able to open in 6 weeks.
One of the biggest challenges was the venetian plaster wall that was created by the incredibly talented Stephen Balser of Art in Construction. The two walls took about a week to complete and we needed the entire space cleared to do the work. The finished product is mysterious and magical. Everyone just wants to touch it!
There were many days when it seemed like it was not going to happen. The day the basement flooded and we saved all the custom made fabric store fixtures minutes before they were ruined or the day that we were told that our permits would’t be issued because of an obscure old violation on the space.
But time and again things went our way and we opened for our first day of business on December 5th.
We are very excited to see old and new customers at 22 Spring. So if you happen to be in Nolita, please stop by and say hi!