By Tammy Scileppi
The Made in Queens pop-up shop in Long Island City is bringing a cool selection of locally made offerings to the borough’s shoppers.
Operating Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., MiQ features handmade and designer items; small-batch, packaged food products; home and fashion accessories; jewelry and more.
There’s also artwork made by young talents from LIC and curated by Teen Art Salon. Plus, you’ll find materials on cultural, entertainment, and dining options provided by the Queens Tourism Council.
Over 100 people stopped by to check out the store at 27-24 Queens Plaza South during its grand opening June 15. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other government officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Over the years, we have noticed that Queens has many great crafts people and food makers, but they lack a place to sell their products due to the borough’s hot commercial real estate market,” Rob MacKay, director of public relations for the Queens Economic Development Corporation, said. “This store provides these artisans with a cheap way to sell their goods. So it’s good for them, good for buyers, and good for Queens. It’s a win-win-win.”
MiQ’s modern meets old-fashioned vibe seems like a throwback to the days of the general store, where folks would find a little bit of everything in one location, chat with neighbors, and sample homemade goods.
For Jessica Niamath of The Aspen Tree, who makes jewelry and small accessories out of her Forest Hills apartment, MiQ offers a great opportunity to promote and sell her wares directly to the public.
“I utilize simple, modern designs to appeal to both vintage lovers and customers who would normally only shop for new items,” said Niamath, who keeps her price points fairly low ($8-$38). “I don’t want to sell things that I couldn’t afford to buy myself.”
Another MiQ merchant, Lisa Mignoli of Metrix Jewelry, runs her business from her parents’ Floral Park home.
“Not only is MiQ wonderful for the local community to feature all Queens merchants, it gives designers, such as myself, the opportunity to become part of this shared storefront for a fraction of the cost of what renting retail space would be,” said Mignoli, who is selling her products at prices ranging from $16 to $87.
Moroccan-born Nadira El Khang lives in Jamaica and works out of her LIC studio on Thomson Avenue, at NYDesigns, an incubator for start-up design and tech companies.
Her company, NadiraBag, makes hand-crafted leather goods. “Being a merchant in MIQ is a great opportunity for me to move on from online seller to a store location,” she says. “This opportunity enables me to focus on designing more styles with different prices.”
Prices for her pieces range from $65 to $750.
Sunnyside resident Juanita Miranda sells all-natural, gluten-free treats, produced locally, at Guilt Free Snacks. Prices for her goodies range from $3 to $3.50 each.
“Made in Queens is an amazing opportunity for Guilt Free Snacks because besides getting more exposure, it is a great scenario to tell our story,” she said.
Josh Wessler is CEO and co-founder of Fresh Routes, which he runs with girlfriend, Sarah Frank. Fresh Routes creates cooking kits for homemade meals. MiQ is their first store in Queens. “Being part of the new Made in Queens store is really exciting for us,” he said.
“Our kits include all the pantry essentials plus a step-by-step recipe to cook a flavorful, globally inspired recipe. That means customers can cook whenever it’s convenient and can easily customize the recipe to fit their preferences,” Wessler said.
Stephanie Sanz from Forest Witch loves brewing up her own magical spells—the organic, no-additive, herbal-tea kind. Her loose-leaf tea blends, which incorporate her own incantation, are on sale at the MiQ store.
Sanz created Forest Witch while living in Astoria, but has since moved to Jackson Heights. She still packages her tea in LIC and her blends are also available online for $15 per blend.
“The MiQ store is an extraordinary opportunity to showcase Queens-based artisanal small businesses,” she said, adding that the store is a great ways to show off the creativity of what is fast becoming one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods.
If You Go
MiQ Pop-up Store
Where: 27-24 Queens Plaza South, LIC
When: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Nearest subway at Queensboro Plaza [7, N, Q ]; Queens Plaza [E, M, R ]
Check out MiQ’s special July events at www.madeinqueens.nyc