It’s been nearly one year since independent children’s clothing boutique Tiny Hanger opened on Pleasant Street in Coolidge Corner, and owner Lucia Berman-Rossi says “every month is getting busier and busier.” I sat down with the local small-businesswoman in the basement storage area of her ground-level, 14 Pleasant Street location to get a sense of the state of her store—one year in.
She noted that people who come into the shop feel that Tiny Hanger “brings something new and fresh to the area,” observing that once people find her business, they come back often. Shoppers are excited about the number of locally made items sold in-store, including articles of clothing made by Brookline designers.
As for some of the challenges for the new Brookline business, Ms. Berman-Rossi cites the location —as it’s a bit off of a main street (Beacon), tucked between Boca Grande Taqueria and the Coolidge Corner branch of the Brookline Library. It has been this proximity to the library and foot traffic by people going to and from work that has been a saving grace. She stated that people will happen upon her store and say “Oh my god, I didn’t know you were here!” but the boutique owner says “we knew this [location issue]” and were “not surprised [by it].”
Asked if it’s been hard to find local clothing designers, Ms. Berman-Rossi volunteered that she received “a good deal” of proposals when Tiny Hanger was opening, as she had collected business cards for three years at local craft fairs and done some advertising. Now, she added, it would be good to do another open call for designers, saying there is an online form on the store’s web site set up precisely for people to submit clothing ideas.
On the subject of the further development of the building of which she is practically the only open business (due to struggles between the town and property owner), the clothier offers a sigh. She says people come in inquiring about the other storefronts, in order to open businesses, but the property owner and their lawyers have been slow to react. Does this affect Tiny Hanger’s business? “I think so,” Ms. Berman-Rossi says, continuing that if the boutique had neighbors, they would shop in her store and she in theirs, and there would be more foot traffic.
Currently, residential neighbors are “so happy” Tiny Hanger is there, according to the store owner. She mentioned, as an example, an older couple who came into the shop; they made a large purchase and then donated it to a children’s charity, wanting to help out both the new store they so enjoyed and local tots. Tiny Hanger’s staff conducted a photo project soon after opening last year, in which they snapped and professionally posted photos of locals and families on the storefronts adjacent to their business to liven the block up. Since, they’ve dubbed the stretch of Pleasant Street “Rainbow Row,” as they’ve also painted the storefronts vibrant colors.
Capping off the one-year anniversary will be a four-day celebration at Tiny Hanger from Thursday, October 25th to Sunday, October 28th. There will be lots of give-away’s, balloons, face-painting, sales and more at the store. And in November, they’ll be welcoming an artist who hand-cuts silhouettes in around five minutes and will be giving away pieces by that artist to visitors.
If you’re in the area, stop on by the anniversary party—or any day—for the kid in your life and to support independent Brookline business.
By Andrew Palmacci