Little Italy children’s retail shop Piccolini, best known for its unique take on the “I love New York” T-shirt, recently moved to its new location at 167 Mott St. from its original storefront in NoLIta (where it opened in 2011) due to a rent hike. The area has always been close to owner Alex Zagami’s heart, as her grandfather grew up on Elizabeth Street and owned the Savoia bakery.
Why did you choose to move the store to Little Italy?
I have to say, I was scared to death to move at first. I was almost willing to pay that higher rent in different locations in the area, but I didn’t want to work for a landlord. My location here is like a social club. There was a wine curator and cigar cellar here, really it was a man cave, but I saw potential here.
How would you describe your store to a new customer?
We are the gifts that you need, but don’t need. I love to curate the store with my love for New York, art and music. I love to show people that the gift should reflect not only yourself, but the person you’re giving it to, to make it personal. People also come to us when they don’t want to shop off the gift registry for a baby. That’s who we are -- we aren’t your typical baby store.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
I wouldn’t have been able to do this alone. I wouldn’t be able to take full credit for this, but the most priceless part of being an entrepreneur is being a part of the neighborhood and I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else because of my family roots. I hope to be here for the next 27 years.