Hairy Mary’s Vintage and Design: Life After Death

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Photo: Maura Murnane

After four years in the Lower East Side, Hairy Mary's Vintage and Design closes this Sunday. But the company isn't going away forever. After throwing a blowout sale this weekend — 50 percent off everything in stock starting today — owner Sharon Broit is downsizing to a weekend-only business, and is set to appear at the Artists & Fleas, Brooklyn Flea, and other vintage markets as early as next weekend. "It's such an expense to run a store, and at the end of the day we worked so hard just to open every day," she says of the Orchard Street boutique. "The landlord reduced the rent six months ago, but not enough to make us stay. There isn't much street traffic. The street is very transient, and many of the small businesses can't manage to stay here because not many people walk by."

Broit also sees her move from store to stand as a sign of the future of small businesses. Given the overhead of retail locations, small companies must find new ways to generate interest, whether that means at a flea market or pop-up. "Retail stores are finding that the excessive overheads and the balance of power with the landlords are pretty uneven," she explains. "Doing pop-up stores and renting for a month, there is much more of an availability to have freedom and create a buzz around a business, which is good in this economic climate." And while losing her store may sound like a step backward, Broit is optimistic about her plans for the future, which include branching into jewelry. "I feel happy that we're closing, which is strange, because I toyed with it for so long. I just really enjoyed the store, it's been fun, but it's done. Time for the next stage."

Closing 50 Percent Off Sale: 11/13–11/15, 149 Orchard Street, nr. Rivington St. (212-228-8989); F (1–8), S, Su (noon–8). Upcoming shops: Artists & Fleas Vintage Market, 129 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn (starting the weekend of 11/21–11/22), ArtistsandFleas.com. Brooklyn Flea, 81 Front St., nr. Gouverneur Ln., Dumbo, Brooklyn (starting the weekend of 12/5–12/6), BrooklynFlea.com.