All summer, a small storefront in Bay Ridge, which used to house a dusty bodega, had the most intriguing window displays we’d ever seen, all Edison bulbs and easels and Coming Soon signs. It turned out to be a new kitchen-supplies store, Kitchening (8003 Third Avenue), which opened at the very end of September. We emailed with co-owner Noreen Carducci about her family’s neighborhood roots and why they opened this new spot.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My family has been in Bay Ridge for four generations, as has my husband’s family. We love Bay Ridge, and although we’ve traveled extensively, we could never live anywhere else. We were lucky to be able to buy my grandparent’s house, which is only three blocks from our businesses. It’s a wonderful, vibrant, diverse community and always has been.
Did you open next door to Tops on purpose?!
We own and operate Tops Restaurant & Bar Supplies, Inc., which has been in business for 47 years. In fact, my husband Dennis’s father, Harry Monier, owned the Parakeet Club (formerly 315 93rd Street), a cabaret and night club. He eventually opened Tops so he and other bar and restaurant owners wouldn’t have to travel to Manhattan for supplies.
Why did you feel Bay Ridge needed Kitchening?
When we found out our adjacent tenant was retiring, we decided to open a retail kitchenwares store, as Tops sells largely to bars and restaurants, and is mainly wholesale and commercial. Many years ago there was a wonderful store here on Third Avenue called Ann Designs (formerly 7816 Third Avenue). It sold beautiful, unique home- and giftware, and I thought our neighborhood really needed that kind of store. For several years the trend has been toward discount stores and personal services, and there is a demand for that. But I’ve been frustrated because it’s very hard to find quality basic kitchenware and gifts. Of course, there’s Century’s, on 86th Street. But if you want something different, or locally made or sustainable, you have to travel either downtown or to the city. I’d like to offer our customers all of that right here in our own neighborhood. More and more people are getting back to cooking at home, and we’d like to support that because it’s great for families. It’s great for everyone.
Can you tell us a little about your sign: why you wanted it like that, and why most sign companies didn’t want to do it?
One of my goals for Kitchening was that it have a very relaxed, cozy feel—a no-stress place to shop. I knew I didn’t want it to look sleek and modern, because I love old things. And I didn’t want to buy all of the furnishings brand new. I try to reuse, repurpose and recycle whenever possible. So I bought 90 percent of our furnishings from Build It Green NY on 9th Street, near the Gowanas Canal. It’s a fantastic resource, with great unique finds; they have everything—furniture, doors, windows, lumber, even books and wallpaper! They work at keeping unnecessary building materials out of landfills and they support a lot of environmental initiatives. We even bough our red oak flooring there after finding we couldn’t salvage the original floor.
You’ve added knife-sharpening services; what other ideas might you explore in the future?
We feel it’s vital to Bay Ridge to support small businesses, especially mom-and-pop stores. We want to know what our customers are looking for, and we value their feedback. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing knife sharpening. I certainly could use the service, and so many customers have requested it. I was fortunate to find a great small business, Bianco Brothers in Bensonhurst, who will do our sharpening. Our customers can just drop their knives off—right now it’s twice a month—and we’ll have them back the next day.