SU student and business partner open vintage clothing store downtown


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Abigail Minicozzi and Michelle Pfaff didn’t even know each other when the founder of The McCarthy Mercantile in downtown Syracuse first suggested the two work together and open up shop. Just a few months later, the two were running their own vintage store in The McCarthy Mercantile called The Cherry Pit.

The vintage store opened in February after McCarthy Mercantile founder Michael John Heagerty connected SU Minicozzi sophomore with local Syracuse Pfaff. Heagerty connected them because he realized they were hosting the same kind of fashion, he said.

“Michelle is really good at marketing. Abigail is very good at merchandising,” Heagerty said. “They help each other take on the different roles necessary for a store to be successful.”

Hagerty isn’t the only one to agree that the two fashion retailers get along well.

Although Minicozzi thought their different backgrounds would make working together strange, the two hit it off right away. Minicozzi said she was grateful to Heagerty for realizing that Minicozzi and Pfaff would make great partners in the world of independent vintage shopping.

“I feel like we clicked instantly and all of our ideas came together really well,” Minicozzi said. “We are certainly very grateful to him because we can go to him for a lot of things. He knew we had the same goal of growing our business. »

Reuniting Minicozzi and Pfaff wasn’t the first time Heagerty had tried to put smaller artists in the spotlight. He has organized other events such as Sidewalk Sessions, where vendors and musicians can exhibit their art outside of commerce. Heagerty always makes sure he gives new artists a chance to show off their work at events like those hosted by Salt City Market.

“We’re just trying to create a more inclusive way to buy clothes, Abby Minicozzi”, one of the founders of The Cherry Pit

Both Minicozzi and Pfaff noticed Heagerty’s sympathetic energy towards lesser-known artists through the events he creates. Heagerty likes to give unique businesses a platform to show off their craftsmanship, Minicozzi said.

“I’m now a professional risk taker,” Heagerty said. “That’s what I do, but it’s great because it gives people the ability to build their brand and create pop-up opportunities.”

Pfaff got the idea for the store when she wanted to think of ways to thoughtfully dispose of the clothes she often buys on impulse at thrift stores. Customers can keep up to date with outfits available for sale by following the store’s Instagram, and they can sign up for clothing swaps via the link in the store’s bio.

The Cherry Pit occasionally hosts free clothing swaps, which the founders said they support due to the positive environmental and financial impact of the events.

“It’s a good way for people to swap out cheap clothes to keep them from going to the landfill,” Pfaff said. “It keeps those fast-fashion clothes from ending up in the trash and gives them extra life.”

Meghan Hendricks | Photo editing assistant Maya Goosmann | Director of Digital Design

And while the clothing swap is free – attendees bring clothes and can choose as many as they brought – the event gives people a chance to stop by and potentially find items they’d like. to buy.

Besides its financial inclusiveness, Minicozzi said The Cherry Pit is equally inclusive when it comes to size and gender. They want all of their clothes to be treated as unisex, and Minicozzi said it makes her happy to see men walk into the store and buy blouses, skirts and dresses.

“We’re just trying to create a more inclusive way to shop for clothes,” Minicozzi said.

Minicozzi described the Mercantile as a “hidden gem” due to its location at 217 S. Salina St. On the lower level of the building, there is a larger selection of independent shops.

The Cherry Pit is just one of many stores run by lesser-known artists from the McCarthy Mercantile who help provide a creative space within the community, Heagerty said.

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Although the store is only a few months old, Heagerty has noticed the company growing in popularity and looks forward to seeing what Minicozzi and Pfaff do in the future.

“The Pit is a baby. He’s only a few months old,” Heagerty said. “So to say that…they have grown, learned and adapted to this recognizable brand is impressive.”

Contact Siron: [email protected] | @sironthomas


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