SU student and business partner open downtown vintage clothing store


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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 a boutique. A few months later, the two were operating their own vintage store in The McCarthy Mercantile called The Cherry Pit.

The vintage store opened in February after Michael John Heagerty, the founder of McCarthy Mercantile, put the sophomore at SU Minicozzi in touch with local Pfaff from Syracuse. Heagerty connected them because he realized they were running 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 succeed. “

Hagerty is not the only one who agrees that the two fashion brands 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 vintage independent shopping.

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

Bringing Minicozzi and Pfaff together wasn’t the first time Heagerty tried to put small artists in the spotlight. He has organized other events such as the 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.

Minicozzi and Pfaff have 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 crafts, Minicozzi said.

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

Pfaff came up with the idea for the store when she wanted to find ways to thoughtfully dispose of the clothes she often impulsively buys from 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 through the link in the store’s bio.

The Cherry Pit occasionally hosts free clothing swaps, which the founders said they support because of the event’s positive environmental and financial impact.

“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 one more 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 the chance to stop by and potentially find items they would like. to buy.

Financial inclusiveness aside, Minicozzi said The Cherry Pit is equally inclusive in terms of 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 shop for blouses, skirts and dresses.

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

Minicozzi described the Mercantile as a “hidden gem” due to its location on the ground floor at 217 S. Salina St. On the lower level of the building there is a greater choice of independent shops.

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

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Although the store is only a few months old, Heagerty has noticed that the business is growing in popularity and can’t wait to see what Minicozzi and Pfaff will do in the future.

“La Fosse is an infant. He’s only a few months old, ”Heagerty said. “So to say that… they grew up, learned and adapted to this recognizable brand is impressive. “

Contact Siron: [email protected] | @sironthomas

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