The Ultimate Shopping Guide to NYC
From a mecca for magazines to a palace of porcelain, here are 25 small businesses that have to be on your holiday shopping list.
We believe shopping small is about connecting with our neighbors and keeping the true heartbeat of New York City alive. Just stroll around any neighborhood throughout the five boroughs and you'll find mom-and-pop businesses that keep creativity and joy alive for the hundreds of people who walk by and stop in.
From a century-old porcelain shop in the heart of Chinatown to a recently opened, romance-only bookstore in Park Slope, here are some of our favorite small businesses for shopping local in NYC.
What you’re here for: Bronx merch
Siblings Amaurys and Roselyn Grullon’s Bronx Native shop and brand is a love letter to their home turf. Created in 2015, the apparel and accessories store uplifts and empowers the people of their beloved borough through positive branding on everything from t-shirts and hats to hoodies and glassware.
What you’re here for: Curated gifts from neighborhood vendors and artisans
For Katrina Parris, NiLu is about giving back to Harlem and its residents. Named after her sons, Nigel and Luke, the intimate shop gives local artisans and entrepreneurs a permanent space to sell their products. A one-stop-shop for gift shopping, NiLu's goods are predominantly from Black- and women-owned brands, including cozy candles, coffee-table books, aesthetic calendars, and tote bags.
What you’re here for: Magazines from all over the world
As the digital world grows, New Yorkers find themselves searching for whispers of the old world—aka print media. This is where Casa Magazines shines. Run by Mohammed Ahmed since 1994, the compact store bonds visitors over the irreplaceable feeling of flipping through physical pages. From well-known publications like Rolling Stone and The New Yorker to obscure zines from countries around the globe, you’ll be hard pressed to leave empty handed.
What you’re here for: Accessories for your pup
The team at Wagwear believes that your dog should be just as well-dressed as you (if not better). Defining its wares as “puppy chic,” the Greenwich Village spot combines style with functionality for a wide range of booties, raincoats, sweaters, hoodies, collars, and leashes. For on-the-go pet parents, there’s also a fashionable assortment of carry cases for sneaky subway rides and trips to the grocery store.
What you’re here for: Greeting cards
The art of letter writing is alive and well, partially thanks to two local heroes at Greenwich Letterpress. For nearly two decades, sisters and third-generation printers Amy Salvini Swanson and Beth Salvini have run the Village’s most beloved greeting card boutique. It’s a delightfully wholesome experience to rifle through the hundreds of options for your next love letter, friendly salutation, or holiday hello.
What you’re here for: Cannabis and cannabis accessories
New York State’s first Black-owned recreational weed store, Smacked Village is the first of many cannabis stores that are slated to open as a way to work towards social equity in the emerging market. Owner Roland Connor operates the recently reopened and renovated store alongside his wife, son, and a team of social justice-focused individuals. Shoppers can either browse products from women- and BIPOC-run brands in-store or place orders online for pickup.
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
What you’re here for: Cookbooks of all kinds
First operating out of a tiny West Village space in 1997—the current East Village location has been open since 2015— Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is known for its unrivaled inventory of more than 5,000 recipe books. On the shelves and in scattered stacks, customers can expect to discover rare and out-of-print cookbooks dedicated to any and all conceivable cuisine, some of which date back to the mid-1800s.
What you’re here for: Witchcraft and apothecary goods
Whether you’re an amateur spellcaster or a practiced sorceress, Enchantments—the oldest occult store in NYC—has an open-door policy for all who wish to brush up on their witchcraft skills. Call upon the help of the well-versed staff or go on a solo hunt through intentioned formulary (or the supplies for casting spells), tarot cards, herbs, incense, and customized spell candles.
What you’re here for: Toxin-free candles
After years of toying around with recipes, scents, and design elements, founder Abigail Cook Stone launched the Otherland website in 2018. This year, the candle company transitioned from a solely online presence with the opening of its first brick-and-mortar storefront in SoHo. Stone’s mission is to create high-quality products that are accessible and functional for people of all economic backgrounds. Within the playful and colorful space, visitors can peruse an assortment of gorgeous, toxin-free candles that range in fragrance from fresh and woody to floral and smoky.
What you’re here for: Non-alcoholic beverages
Whether you’re flirting with or committed to a sober lifestyle, Spirited Away has helped introduce New Yorkers to the world of booze-free spirits. During the pandemic, Douglas Watters thought up the non-alcoholic shop as a way to share his mindful shift towards drinking culture. Now, shoppers can scout out a collection of more than 100 beverage brands for zero-proof spirits, wine, canned mocktails, and beers.
What you’re here for: Beaded bags and accessories
When Susan Alexandra first hit the scene, New Yorkers were immediately obsessed with the brand’s beaded bags that exuded a unique and nostalgic sense of whimsy. Since then, owner Susan Korn’s creations—all of which are handmade in NYC—have only grown in popularity with the opening of the flagship store in 2021. In addition to the famous bags, the Lower East Side homebase also sells jewelry, hair accessories, candle holders, tableware, and more.
What you’re here for: Vintage and designer clothing plus accessories
Finding this funky vintage oasis is half the adventure. Located on the second floor of an unassuming Chinatown mall, James Veloria welcomes guests through the heart-shaped doorway to a playful interior decked out in confetti drapes. Operated by Collin James and Brandon Veloria, the store has become a not-so-hidden gem for one-of-a-kind pieces. The merchandise at James Veloria lives up to the hype thanks to rare designer and archival finds, including pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Dior.
Wing on Wo & Co.
What you’re here for: Porcelain wares and Asian American cultural goods
Holding the title for the oldest continuously operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Wing on Wo & Co. is an undisputed New York City institution. With a five-generation-long legacy, some version of the family-run store has lived on Mott Street since the 1890s. In its current state, Wing on Wo & Co. sells a wide variety of porcelain wares (plates, bowls, eating utensils) and is run by Mei Lum—who is behind The W.O.W. Project that works towards preserving Chinatown’s community and history—and functions as an in-store and online shop.
Astoria Tea Company
What you’re here for: Loose-leaf tea
Loose-leaf tea and sustainability are at the forefront of Astoria Tea Company. On the shelves of this family- and women-run tea paradise, customers will only find wares sourced from bio-organic farmers which are packaged in paper and minimal amounts of plastic. (The shop is striving to become a zero-waste facility.) Try one of the intentional teas like Life Elixir, which helps to detox the liver and ease digestion, or Happy Brew, which helps calm the nervous system.
What you’re here for: Artisanal Korean rice wine
Business partners Alice Jun and John Limb see their Korean rice wine company as a labor of love. Motivated by a dream to expand people’s knowledge of sool (Korean alcoholic beverages) and the sense of community that surrounds it, Jun and Limb transformed their makgeolli (unfiltered Korean rice wine) business from a startup out of Jun’s apartment to a store and tasting room in Greenpoint. Snag a bottle of the signature Takju 16, which sits at 16% ABV and has notes of melon plus green apple.
What you’re here for: Vintage clothing, home decor, and furniture
You'll be greeted by a disco ball and luscious greenery at Greenpoint’s Feng Sway, where tropical maximalism is the vibe. From turn-of-the-century pieces to Gen Z trends, this vintage haven sells everything from knit sweaters and quilted sets to seashell lamps and bamboo end tables. Owner and artist Kate Lauter sources her goods from across the country to create a compelling mix of styles and aesthetics that means you'll always find something new on every return trip.
What you’re here for: Herbal remedies
Born and raised in Costa Rica, herbalist Adriana Ayales’ created the holistic oasis Anima Mundi to share traditional medicine and remedies with the modern world. At the Greenpoint flagship customers can peruse more than 200 herbs offering a range of health benefits in the form of powders, elixirs, tonics, body and face oils, teas, and much more. For those in Manhattan, there’s also a second location in SoHo.
What you’re here for: Skateboarding gear
For two decades, KCDC Skateshop has advocated for a more inclusive and progressive culture within skateboarding. The brains behind the operation is founder and Long Island-native Amy Ellington. In addition to selling decks, hardware, shoes, and clothing, the bright-pink skate shop hosts community events like yoga for skateboarders, indoor skate nights, discussion panels, and more.
Savino's Quality Pasta
What you’re here for: Fresh and packaged pasta
Fresh pasta is one of the best things in life (you can quote us on that). And one of Brooklyn’s most beloved businesses, Savino’s Quality Pasta, specializes in just that. Behind the counter, you’ll find owner Cono Savino, who runs the shop alongside his parents Frank and Josephine. While there’s a selection of prepared foods, the fresh pasta selection shines with options like angel hair, fusilli, fettuccini, and cavatelli. Savino also hosts an intimate, BYOB pasta-making experience at $70 per guest.
Cleo’s Yarn Shop
What you’re here for: Yarn (obviously)
Yarn is a family business for Cleo Malone. They originally helped run Cast Away Yarn Shop in Santa Rosa, California alongside her mom, before opening their own business in New York in 2022, transforming an East Williamsburg warehouse into a cozy yarn barn dubbed Cleo’s Yarn Shop. In addition to vibrant racks of yarn for sale, the business offers knitting, crocheting, and weaving classes, as well as private lessons and weekly happy hours.
Deep Cuts Record Store
What you’re here for: Vinyl records
Whether you're a die-hard vinyl-lover or a fresh-faced new collector, Deep Cuts Record Store is a treasured go-to for all of your record collection needs. From Columbian American owner Brandon and business partner John, the mainly secondhand store has been in Ridgewood for eight years. Guests are greeted by blue-and-white checkered floors, tables stacked with an eclectic mix of used and new vinyls, shelves lined with cassettes, and, most notably, an altar dedicated to the Tejano music icon Selena. With loads of genres available, the extensive selection at Deep Cuts ranges from salsa and reggaeton to Latin pop and classic rock.
What you’re here for: Cameras and film
In addition to selling analog cameras and film to Brooklynites, Dominick Lewis’ dream is to make the photography world a more inclusive one. At the pocket-sized photodom., which is also the only Black-owned camera store in NYC, the staff is quick with a helping hand. Lewis’ spot also offers camera and studio rentals, workshops, and a monthly grant program for aspiring photographers.
What you’re here for: Lifestyle goods, clothes, books, and plants
For founder and Brooklyn-based artist Christophe Roberts, this hybrid gallery, retail shop, and cafe hopes to expand innovation and creativity in New York City. Located on Bedford Ave, the bi-level SEED Bryklyn boasts a cool, industrial design across three distinct elements: The Oasis, an immersive art and NFT gallery; Greenhouse Cafe, a coffee shop stocked with plants and lifestyle goods; and The Garden, a retail space featuring world-renowned and freshly conceived brands.
What you’re here for: Plants and gardening accessories
In the middle of the concrete jungle, Natty Garden plant emporium, from Jamaica native Glenroy Mahfood, is a reliable source for some greenery and natural beauty in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights. Since opening in 2008, the nursery’s range of wares has expanded to include indoor and outdoor plants, herbs, fruits, soil, and gardening tools. You can also drop by its Bed-Stuy sibling.
The Ripped Bodice
What you’re here for: Romance novels
Romance novels are having a moment—but we could make a case that they always are. A passion project from sisters Leah and Bea Koch, The Ripped Bodice first opened a storefront in LA, as a way to bring romance novels to a wider audience. Following their West Coast hit, the Koch sisters have now brought the bubblegum pink exterior to Brooklyn. Here, customers can peruse a range of romance novels separated into sub-genres like contemporary, LGBTQ+, science fiction, historical, and erotica.