At the premiere of Season of the Witch last night, Jill Zarin explained to Daily Intel why she and her husband, Bobby, are looking to get out of the furniture business. “We went into the furniture and design business about five years ago, and I was working in the business full time, and I’ve sort of stepped out of working it full time,” she said. And she confirmed that they are seeking a tenant to take over the retail space at the family’s Grand Street headquarters. “We want to go back to the core of the business, which is fabrics, and we really don’t need that kind of retail space,” Jill said. The Zarins said that, in fact, they could run the fabric business from the second floor of the building, which would open the ground-floor retail space to a new tenant. “Basically, we’ll put it out there and [see] if we get a good tenant,” Jill said. “Because the tenant has to complement our existing business, or not compete against it. If it’s a good match, we’ll see.” Bobby Zarin says he’s currently dabbling with different ideas for the space, and is “talking to everybody.”
“We want someone creative,” Jill said. A separate furniture store would be good, she thinks, because then customers would go upstairs to buy Zarin fabrics. “I mean, we would even entertain being partners if somebody brought us the right opportunity,” she said. “We have children, you know, who are working, and they could maybe … who knows, it could be a café where we supply the real estate and they run the business and we’re partners. It could be anything. So we’re open to ideas.” The Zarin name, she pointed out, is a draw. “Someone may not want to change the name. They might want to become partners with us and call it Zarin Café and run the business.” That might not be a bad idea, since the couple says the current Zarin-branded awnings will remain regardless of what takes over the space. “We’ll still have our awnings; we’re not giving those up. It’s sort of become a landmark down there,” Jill said. “We’re founding fathers of the Lower East Side; we’ve been there for 75 years, so we’re not moving,” Bobby added.
In the meantime, Jill had a question for us. “Can New York Magazine be nicer to me this season, please? They were very mean to me. What’s the name of that blog?” Vulture, we replied, shirking the blame. “Oh, so mean to me. What did I do?” she asked, laughing. “What did I do, Vulture?”