By Sabina Mollot
Ibiza Kidz, a children’s shop for shoes, clothing and toys located in Union Square, has expanded to open a second location in Stuyvesant Town.
The new store, like the other location between 12th and 13th Streets on Broadway, is owned by a couple that lives in Stuy Town, Carole and Johnny Husiak.
Carole said the idea to expand to her own neighborhood came from the property’s leasing agents, Rose Associates, who approached her about the 1800 square foot space.
“The agent said, ‘we have a space and we feel the community would benefit and is in need of a children’s store,’” Carole said. “So we came and loved it. It was a no-brainer. There was an absence of this kind of shop.”
This was five months ago. Negotiations started soon afterwards but were then delayed due to the sale of the complex to Blackstone in October.
However, it was important to the Husiaks to be open in time for the holidays, so Ibiza Kidz, which now has a 10-year lease, opened its doors on Saturday.
The space is on First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. This was most recently home to a RadioShack and Ibiza Kidz will also have access to the basement.
At this time, the store isn’t fully stocked but already plenty of toys for boys and girls are lining the shelves. One corner is devoted to Fisher-Price revival, the brand’s toys from decades ago. Carole said she’s partial to the record player, which really plays and comes with five records with two songs on each. “I’m 60 and I had one of these when I was a kid,” she said.
Other products include Micro Scooters, purses with stuffed animals peeking out, musical jewelry boxes and art sets.
By this weekend, there will also be a huge selection of superhero and Star Wars shirts, and more clothing and toys in the coming days. The store will also offer free gift wrapping and shipping for a minimum fee of $16.
Then, following the holidays, Ibiza Kidz will be stocked with the main product the business is known for — shoes.
“We’ll have newborn up to teens,” said Carole, who is a certified shoe fitter.
The shoes, she noted are what parents have been asking for when she reached out on local parent groups on social media.
“Shoes, shoes, shoes,” she said. “So we need to make it fun and have them leave here with the right fit. You can’t order shoes online.”
Brands to be carried at the store will include Stride Rite, Italian brand Primigi, Naturino, See Kai Run, Geox for sneakers, Saucony and Japanese style sneaker brand Tsukihoshi. Parents can expect to pay, on average, $40-$50 for a pair of shoes.
Eventually, Carole said she would also like to host kids’ activities at the store like storytelling and face painting.
Having previously worked as a film producer, Carole switched to retail when she met Johnny who was already in that business. At that time, Carole already had her first child, then two, and was looking to leave the film industry.
“I freelanced and I did well but with a baby it wasn’t making me happy,” she said.
Johnny, meanwhile, owned a women’s clothing boutique, Ibiza, with another partner. Ibiza had a small children’s division for a few years but Carole said that’s when she decided to expand it.
“I said, ‘I’m a mom, I’m smart, I’m creative, I’m a businesswoman. I can make this take off.’ So I made it into a full store.”
Carole has lived with Johnny in Stuy Town for 25 years, where they raised three children, Emily, 25, Kat, 20 and Eli, 18. Carole’s mother also lives in the complex.
Bruce Spiegel of Rose Associates, who represented the tenant and owner on the deal, said CompassRock had been seeking out a family-oriented business. He reached out to Ibiza Kidz, knowing the company’s background.
“We thought they would be a great tenant to add to the mix there,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to be very successful.”
Also cheering the new shop was a Stuy Town resident who approached a T&V reporter outside to say, “It’s about time we got something for children and families.”
The resident, Adele Unterberg, recalled when First Avenue was home to numerous clothing boutiques for children, women and men. Now, she added,
“There’s too much fast food crap and too many banks.” Pointing to the new store, she said, “This is charming and upscale.”
Ibiza Kidz is a few storefronts up the block from the new Ess-a-Bagel, which a worker outside on Monday said will open “hopefully” by the end of January.
The Ibiza Kidz in Union Square was originally located near the women’s boutique, but Ibiza moved just a month ago to Duane Street in Tribeca.