Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and they add to a city’s charm and unique character. That is why many people are partial to mom-and-pop stores and make an effort to patronize them in order to help them succeed. New York City is not an exception—there’s a lot of love for mom-and-pop stores in the city, with the local authorities taking steps to support them.
Small businesses in New York City help neighborhoods by providing easy access to products and services right where they are needed, and by creating jobs and building a sense of community. They also stimulate even more businesses to develop and grow. Many small businesses, for example, solve their storage needs by using self-storage units, an affordable and convenient service widely available throughout the city. There are around 200 self-storage facilities in New York City, so any small business can find one nearby for its storage needs.
If you’re a New Yorker who plans to spend your money with mom-and-pop businesses, here are some of the top stores in the city that you need to check out:
Books & records stores
From antique books and vintage records to brand new editions, New York City’s independent bookstores offer a wide variety of items. And if you’re a collector of such fragile belongings, you know that they need to be protected from environmental factors such as heat, sunlight, and humidity. The best place to keep them safe long-term is a NYC climate-controlled storage unit.
This family business sells (and buys) a wide variety of rare and used books and records in its two shops—located at 2246 Broadway for books and 233 W. 72nd Street for records. If you’re interested in rare books, you can find a variety of modern first editions, art, illustrated books, graphic design, literature, and more. As for records, from rock ‘n’ roll and jazz to comedy, operetta, and sound effects, you can find pretty much everything you might imagine.
Everyone loves a good mystery book, and New Yorkers (and out-of-towners) have the chance to visit the country’s oldest mystery fiction specialty bookstore in America, The Mysterious Bookshop. Located in at 58 Warren Street in Tribeca, this independent bookshop opened in 1979 and features a rich selection of books in the mystery genre and its various subgenres including crime, thrillers, and espionage.
The independent Rizzoli Bookstore has been enriching the city’s cultural life for over half a century. Located at 1133 Broadway, the store specializes in illustrated subjects such as architecture, photography, interior design, and fashion. You can also find foreign literature, European magazines and newspapers, and beautiful stationery.
Home & baby stores
Looking for a vintage piece of furniture, unique decorations, or maybe some good-quality baby items? NYC’s mom-and-pop home and baby stores offer you all that plus personalized customer service.
Delphinium Home opened its doors in 1999 and is located at 353 W. 47 th Street, in the heart of bustling Hell’s Kitchen. Founded by three friends, John Soroka, Michael Quinn, and Gary Alaimo, with help and support from their families, this store sells a beautifully curated and original collection ranging from home décor to glassware, apparel, kitchen accessories, frames, and much more.
Lullaby baby is a family owned and operated boutique for all things baby—from nursery furniture and travel systems to swaddles, baby monitors, infant books, toys, and more. Product selection is made with great attention to quality and details. And, like with many small businesses, customers get personalized services and plenty of attention. Lullaby baby is located at 488 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.
This home store was set up by Luisa Cerutti and Nicki Lindheimer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They noticed that people were nesting more, and they became very interested in acquiring home goods, so they decided to open Domus at 413 W. 44th Street in NYC. They say they enjoy the friendly neighborhood they’re in, and their store sells a variety of products sourced from artisans from all over the world. From home décor to linens, jewelry, puzzles and games, and much more, you can find unique pieces at Domus.
More & More Antiques has been selling New Yorkers American and European antiques for over 30 years at their store at 378 Amsterdam Avenue. From delicate, old-world Christmas decorations to unique pieces of vintage furniture, you can find your home design and home décor inspiration right here.
This quirky and unique small business at 889 Broadway sells all things kitchenware, from glasses to plates, bowls, serving dishes, and everything in between. Many of the dining sets are vintage—and gorgeous—so if you want something truly special, this is the place to look.
NYC’s independent shops offer the city’s residents the goods and services they need to indulge in their favorite hobbies, from sports to music to classic or obscure—but always fascinating—board games.
Gizmo Notion Corp is where New Yorkers with a love for sewing and creating their own clothing can find everything they need—including sewing machine service and repair. The shop, located at 160 1st Avenue in Manhattan, is owned and operated by Hossein Amid, under the well-suited and funny slogan “Keep Calm and Sew On.” Here you can find fabrics, threads, notions, and refurbished sewing machines—or you can have your existing one tuned up.
The Music Inn opened in 1958 and is one of the city’s oldest continually run music stores. Located at 169 W. 4th Street, it offers a selection of thousands of musical instruments from around the world as well as records in a wide variety of genres. You can also enjoy, or even participate in, open mic events every Thursday night, or take music lessons from owner Jeff Slatnick.
This mom-and-pop skateboard shop is located in Manhattan’s West Village, in a basement at 128 Charles Street. You can shop here for different types of skateboards including longboards, street, cruisers, and vintage skateboards. Also, you can have your skateboard serviced, shop for parts, or do trade-ins. Jeff Gaites and Kristen Howard, the married couple behind Uncle Funkys Boards, take the time to talk to and offer valuable advice to each customer.
New Yorkers passionate about board games need to look no further—this small business, which has been operating for 45 years, has everything you might want or dream of in terms of tabletop gaming. Located at 11 E. 33rd Street, The Compleat Strategist sells board games, card games, role-playing games, and puzzles—even vintage and out-of-print ones.