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12 Local Businesses Launch “I Shop Bed-Stuy” initiative

Bedford-Stuyvesant’s growing small business network has it all – from fine wines to relaxing messages; from stellar outfits and costume jewelry to fine art and framing;and from delicious healthy food to mouth-watering pastries. And with this kind of variety there’s little reason for local residents to shop anywhere else for the holidays.


That’s the thinking behind “I Shop Bed-Stuy”,  a shopping campaign in which 12 local small businesses are encouraging all kinds of great deals and discounts to shop locally for the holiday season. The campaign runs from November 23 – December 25, beginning on Black Friday, and participating stores will offer special discounts on gift items.  Each store also has agreed to gift wrap each item. And for others where items cannot be gift-wrapped, such as food items, they will offer gift certificates. Here’s a rundown on six of the participating shops. Six more will be featured next week.


“Most of our customers enjoy red wine for Thanksgiving,” said  proprietor John Samuel, whose two-year-old wine shop is participating in the campaign. “Sangiovese rose works very well with the flavors of turkey, along with the fats and oils of other traditional holiday dishes.”


Samuel and his staff are all experts in picking the right wine for the any occasion or price range from $8 to $108. This includes a variety of white and red wines made from grapes grown in foreign lands such as Gamay from France to Pinot Noir grown in some of California and Oregon’s great vineyards.

“We have something to fit every budget and profile of our customer base,” said Samuel, who’s offering a 10 percent discount off any bottle of wine for customers that mention the I Shop Bed-Stuy program. “My business partner and I are both from Bed-Stuy and we thought the neighborhood was ready for a good wine store. We really appreciate the support we’ve gotten from the community and we’re looking forward to providing other opportunities to present new wines into the area.”

Breukelen Cellars is at 504 Nostrand Avenue. They will be open on Thanksgiving Day, 10 am to  6 pm. Normal hours: noon to 10 pm with regular wine-tasting,Thursday and Friday evening. Call: (347) 240-5421.


Richard Beavers,  founder and owner, said he started the gallery and custom framing shop five years ago because Bed-Stuy was an underserved area when it came to displaying up-and-coming artists.


“Art is timeless, it’s personal and it’s a statement,” said Beavers. “We’re a contemporary fine arts gallery and represent artists in a multitude of genres that are unique and distinctive that appreciates in value.”

The House of Art also specializes in custom framing, art preservation and offers installation of artwork for both residential and commercial properties.

“Our prices for art range from $100 and up for limited-edition artwork, and we’re offering 10 percent off for limited editions of art work,” said Beavers. “For the holiday special we’re offering a hundred dollars of framing work for $40 until the end of the year.”

House of Art is located at 408 Marcus Garvey Blvd. Hours:  11am to 7 pm, Wednesday-Sunday and on Monday and Tuesday by appointment. Call: (347) 663-8195.  www.hoagallery.com



When it comes to great local atmosphere and food, Ms Dahlia’s Café offers the best of both.

“Dull moments are rare here,” said Liz, who often works behind the counter for owner Margo Lewis. “We’re known for our great Italian imported coffee and mouth watering buttermilk biscuits.”

Dahlia’s also has an artsy feel and one will often strike up interesting conversations with fellow patrons on topics ranging from politics to the arts to favorite music. There are four tables and a bar area, and the café is know for its burger bar and pastries, several of which come from Balthazar in downtown Manhattan.

Dahlia’s also features free Wi-Fi, and besides great food, sells textiles and gift baskets. For the holiday season specials, the café is offering 10 percent off on special order cakes and pies.

Ms. Dahlia’s Café is located at 449 Nostrand Avenue. Hours: 7 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday and  8 am to 8 pm on Sunday.  Call: (718) 975-0110.




 Born and raised Bed-Stuy girl Tia Jackson opened Johntines Boutique two years ago and combined her parent’s names (John and Christine) to come up with the name of the small boutique that specializes in clothes for big women in sizes 12-24.

The boutique’s clothes are trendy fabulosity – more for holiday parties than for church, said Jackson.

“We have the perfect holiday ensembles that can be worn both at parties and intimate gatherings,” she said.


Jackson, a graduate of Boys & Girls High School and a public school kindergarten teacher in the neighborhood, also carries costume jewelry and assorted accessories. Additionally, the boutique carries its own line of body butter called Aiden’s Love Body Butter.

For the holiday special, the store is offering 10 percent off any purchase.

Johntines Boutique is located at 332 Malcolm X Blvd. Hours: 3:30 to 6:30 pm Tuesday-Friday, and 12:30 to 6 pm, Sundays. Call: (347) 240-5584. The website

(www.johntines.com) is re-launching in the near future.



Eating healthy and having fun in a family friendly atmosphere is behind owner/entrepreneur Jean Alerte’s thinking in opening Brooklyn Swirl. The eatery features mouth watering frozen yogurt with a large array of toppings along with fresh fruit smoothies and crepes. For the winter, Brooklyn Swirl has added New England (white) clam chowder, chicken noodle soup and three-bean chili.

“We decided to open the shop because we live in the neighborhood, and my wife grew up in the neighborhood and we wanted to put something healthy in the neighborhood,” said Alerte. “We wanted to give people options with a family-friendly place where kids can come and enjoy healthy food and at the same time we have senior programs.”

Brooklyn Swirl also holds an open mic every second Tuesday and Thursday of the month with the next dates for this event being Dec. 9 and 11.

Alerte is also an accomplished writer, whose first book, Do Right Do Good, has been endorsed by Russell Simmons and Dr. Dennis Kimbro. The NAACP Brooklyn Chapter will honor him with the Freedom Fund and Entrepreneurial Award of the Year on Nov. 29 at the Sheridan Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Swirl is located at 445 Marcus Garvey Blvd. Hours: 1pm-10 pm daily. Call: (347) 915- 1949.




 Myriam Nicoles opened Brooklyn Baby Cakes on Nov. 5.  She has an engineering background but got involved in baking for fun after falling in love with red velvet cake.

“I said I was going to make my own cake and then I started tweaking it,” she said, explaining she started baking for her family including her three young boys. “Then someone suggested I start selling them, and I started taking orders from home and it went viral.”

From there, Nicoles decided to open her own bakery in Bed-Stuy because she lives in the neighborhood and saw that local residents were going to other neighborhoods for good baked goods and cafes.


Currently, the bakery has nine seats and its main items are mini and regular cupcakes along with cakes, cookies and other sweets. The bakery also plans on adding breakfast and mini cheesecakes in the near future.

Brooklyn Baby Cakes is located at 506 Nostrand Avenue. It is open 7 am to 9 pm six days a week and closed Sundays. The bakery has a Facebook page. Call:(718) 484-8466.

Next week, six other participants in the Shop Bed-Stuy for the Holidays program will be featured.





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