CLINTON — Noel Visalli has been in retail for about 20 years and decided it was time to have a storefront of her own.
When owners of the former Adirondack Cheese Co. Inc., store decided to close shop, Visalli was quick to check out the location a couple times with her husband, Dr. Ken Visalli.
For her, the rent was affordable and she couldn’t wait to start a business in the village. And today, 13 W. Park Row is known as Lucianna’s Boutique.
“My husband Ken was a huge help with the store — he built it for me — he did all the fixtures and the lighting,” said Visalli. “He’s very handy.”
The mother of three said her children Constantino, 8; daughter Lucianna, 6, for which the shop is named; and Leonardo, 4, have been inside the store quite a bit, helping mom get the store ready for her grand opening, which was held Saturday, Sept. 6.
“I’m hoping to be here forever until they kick me out,” the shop owner laughed. “I’m big into supporting local, so a lot of what I have in my store is from local artisans, like homemade hats and headbands.”
Visalli said she believes in supporting local artists and locally-made products, which helps support local business overall. Her own handmade jewelry and bath products will also be for sale at Lucianna’s.
“If there’s a local artisan who offers a good product, I want to help get their name out there,” Visalli said. “I’m 100 percent about supporting them.”
The new store owner said she started in retail about 20 years ago when she worked at Hapanowicz Brothers Meat Market in New York Mills, and then later on worked for T.J. Maxx. While husband Ken was in medical school, the family moved around, taking up residence in Maine and Florida. While in Florida, Visalli said she served as the general manager of a Forever 21 clothing store, and when they decided to move back to the area, she became the manager of the Ulta beauty products store at Consumer Square in New Hartford.
After the birth of son Constantino, Visalli said she stayed home to raise her children. Then in March 2019, she opened an online boutique, buying wholesale from distributors.
“I did an online website and Facebook page, and I would do local pop-up shops,” Visalli explained. “I’ve done Handshake.City (green space/market) in Downtown Utica and pretty much all the vendor sales and craft fairs in the area. Sometimes I would even visit and bring merchandise to local salons. I believed in showing the merchandise, because sometimes people don’t know the quality of something until they get to see and feel it.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns were extremely hard on several local businesses, and even franchises as stores were forced to temporarily close, Visalli said her online business actually started to grow.
“I did very well” during that time, Visalli said. “When COVID hit, I would personally deliver orders. I would take a Tuesday, and deliver all over — some places were even 30-40 minutes away. And when customers ordered something, I said I could get them the products on the same day. People loved it, because during that time you couldn’t shop anywhere.”
As for deciding to have a physical location in the hub of the village, “There’s no better location for Lucianna’s Boutique,” she said. “The village is walkable, and there’s so much traffic. There’s nothing like it in this area.”
Lucianna’s Boutique is offering women’s clothing, and Visalli said she branched out recently to offer children’s clothing as well. She also has her own handmade jewelry made of gemstones, natural gemstones and leather. To be more unique, she is also offering some homewares items and bathing products.
“I’ve gotten into homewares — I have some handmade wooden signs, and I’m waiting on an organic soap, bath products and make-up line,” Visalli said. “I, myself, also make a bath line of sugar scrubs, body butters and bath bombs. I have a little bit of everything, so you can come to the shop to buy that perfect gift, or get a little something for yourself.”
Visalli said she also prides herself in offering high-quality items at affordable prices.
“I believe in being affordable — I can’t afford to spend $60 or $70 on a sweater and even if I could, I just wouldn’t do it — I’m not like that,” she said. “That’s why I offer excellent quality at a lower price. Just yesterday I had some girls in the shop and they were thrilled to be buying leggings at just $5 a pair.”
With a belief in giving “artists a voice,” Visalli said she hopes to continue hearing from local artists and crafters who would be interested in selling their wares through her shop.
“I want to be my own thing, but I also want to support local as well,” she said.
Lucianna’s Boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (with a lunch break from 2-3 p.m.), and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.