The Brooklyn ARTery is truly one-of-a-kind. Promoting Brooklyn Made products and local handmade art, the shop is a combination of crafts store, gift shop and gallery. Whether you are looking for something in particular, wish to browse local products or simply chat with one of the lovely owners (who know most of their guests and neighbors!), the Brooklyn ARTery is a peaceful and inviting haven.
Susan Siegel and Jocelyn Lucas Kirouac opened the store five years ago, after meeting in Ditmas Park and agreeing that a gift and art shop with a focus supporting the local community was a dream they both wished to pursue. Susan’s strength is to spot unique items and fill niches that add to the community, while Jocelyn is a pro at picking the most eye-catching items when she is not designing custom cards for the ARTery.
Celebrating their fifth anniversary this fall, Susan and Jocelyn told us about their shop’s story and why they love the diverse neighborhood of Ditmas Park in a short interview.
How did the ARTery start?
“Aside from 99 cent stores, there was virtually nowhere to shop for gifts in our neighborhood. We began with a craft market at the local farmer’s market, where we also did DIY art classes to find out the needs of the local community. From that we created a store that would fill the void for all the gifting needs of the local community – from home decor to jewelry, toys, bath and body products, and everything in between.”
How did you decide on the location?
“We knew we wanted to be on Cortelyou Road, which is the main commercial corridor in our neighborhood. Our first location was a pop-up because there was no permanent retail space open at the time. After our first holiday season, our current location opened up across the street.
We are now true believers in being on the sunny side of the street! Our renovations restored the huge front windows, added a skylight and exposed brick walls, and opened up the ceiling to create a lofty and inviting space.”
What designers and artists catch your eye, and how do you choose what to sell in the store?
“We look for things that we haven’t necessarily seen elsewhere. We source one-of-a-kind pieces and small design groups, and we love to work with local artists as much as we can. We attend trade shows, craft markets and flea markets, and search online to find the things that we feel are right for the ARTery.”
What are some of the things one can find at the ARTery?
“Handmade jewelry from local designers in brass, ceramic, gold and silver at a wide variety of price points. Green bath and body products. Gorgeous scarves made from reclaimed vintage saris. Stylish vegan purses. The best selection of cards in Brooklyn. Brooklyn-themed t-shirts, tableware and soaps. Artisanal foods from honey and jams to chocolate and caramels. And so much more.”
Do you have a good story about an artist, volunteer or customer?
“Chisa Tageki is a local designer originally from Japan who creates spectacular intricate jewelry some of which is featured in Japanese museums. She’s been with us from when we first opened and her work is highly sought after.
This past year, Chisa needed to apply for a change of status in her visa to be able to stay in the U.S. permanently. We vouched for the originality of her work and her value here as a teacher and a maker. We all celebrated together when she got her green card!”
What inspires you both to open the store doors every day?
“We love that the ARTery is a center of community where people feel welcome, and local artists get to sell their work in their own neighborhood. We love to promote Brooklyn to the many tourists who visit our area. We also love being able to add extra value for our neighbors and customers by having events, tastings and demos in the store and bringing in Christmas tree farmers with amazing organic trees every year.”