Owner of Flatiron store Fishs Eddy talks shop in nonfiction graphic novel

Julie Gaines chronicles her store’s ups and downs in Minding the Store, which was illustrated by her son, Ben Lenovitz. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Anyone considering opening a small business in New York City, or who simply enjoys frequenting them, may want to check out a new graphic novel on the subject, written by the owner of quirky Flatiron home goods store Fishs Eddy.

Julie Gaines, who opened the shop with her then boyfriend, later husband, Dave Lenovitz, 32 years ago, has written the book, published by Workman (a division of Algonquin) and titled Minding the Store with illustration by her son Ben Lenovitz.

Released on November 29, it’s now available at her store on Broadway (along with other book retailers) for $22, and tells the history of the business through its ups and down from the shuttering of American manufactures that made its dishware to, in recent years, growing competition from online retailers. It was the latter problem that prompted Gaines to hire a CEO to help counter dwindling sales, only to end up feeling even more stressed and eventually undermined by his corporate drill sergeant approach to running a store.

“He actually bullied us,” said Gaines. “That’s what this book is about. He terrorized us.”

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T&V’s last minute gift guide

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Procrastinators who’ve left their holiday shopping until the last minute needn’t worry that they’ve run out of time to find gifts people will actually want. For those frazzled folks, T&V offers a last-minute gift guide, highlighting a few local shops and holiday market booths with goods sure to please even the pickiest family members.

Hatbox of cheese (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Hatbox of cheese (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

For the foodie
Beecher’s New York, 900 Broadway, between East 19th and 20th Streets, (212) 466-3340, beechershandmadecheese.com
A cheese monger at Beecher’s told T&V said that the company’s cheese curds are a unique and frequent gift because the squeaky snack is not always easy to find. The shop also sells pre-made gift sets offering a hat box full of cheese and crackers for $55. A couple of options are available with different varieties of cheeses, with one offering the shop’s popular fig spread.
For the lactose intolerant, the shop also has a handful of quirky sauces and spreads, including the fig jam, a rosemary and pear spread and caramel mustard. For the most adventurous lactose tolerant, the shop offers a chevre cheesemaking kit for $27.

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Clinton voters are seeking solace at this Flatiron store

Fishs Eddy owner Julie Gaines stands by a wall dedicated to Hillary Clinton that’s covered in hundreds of write-in “votes” from customers. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Fishs Eddy owner Julie Gaines stands by a wall dedicated to Hillary Clinton that’s covered in hundreds of write-in “votes” from customers. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In the days following Donald Trump’s stunning upset, some New Yorkers who voted for Hillary Clinton found themselves instinctively heading to a certain storefront in Flatiron. A place they went in search of comfort, with other likeminded individuals with whom they could commiserate. And they did so while raising mugs — empty ones — with Clinton’s own mug on the side.

That place is, after all, not a pub but a home goods shop, Fishs Eddy, which, in the months leading up to last week’s election, had resembled a playful shrine to the woman expected to become the next president.

By October, the store was stacked high with the Clinton mugs. Other mugs bore her husband’s portrait with the caption “First First Man 2016.” Donald Trump made an appearance too on the side of an espresso cup along with the caption “HUUUUGE!” (He also appeared on a drink tray with the caption “You’re welcome” and a top selling “I’m HUUUUGE” set of condoms.) Other options for mugs included Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cups bearing portraits of numerous Republicans like Marc Rubio and Chris Christie. President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was printed out on trays, a hot item since the beginning of the “birther” movement.

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