New Business: Nellie & Bean Mercantile


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NellieBean1There’s something new in the old farmhouse at the corner of Pine Street and Bloomfield Avenue.

Nellie & Bean Mercantile opened last month at 840 Bloomfield Avenue and it has gifts for everyone on your list–including you. There are options for graduation gifts and wedding gifts, house-warming (turkish towels? Martini set?), Sweet 16 options and even something for Father’s Day, like a line of ties cheekily called Collared Greens.

NellieBean3Owner Nellie Criqui hasn’t been in retail before, but you’d never know it by looking at the store. Items are grouped in color families against the bright white walls, making it easy to find just the right pink scarf, turquoise necklace or brown clutch. Nellie & Bean Mercantile is a shopping experience vastly different than the department stores and big-box retailers around Verona, and that’s just what Criqui intended it to be.

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“Look at this,” she says, taking this reporter into a small area off the selling floor. It’s stocked with gift boxes and ribbons in the store’s signature green and navy colors. “We wrap everything we sell”, she says. One other thing that’s different from a department store: the parking. It’s tucked in all around the outside of the store, leaving shoppers with only a few short steps from cash register to trunk.

NellieBean2Criqui got her start in design at Colorado State University. She wasn’t studying the field, but dorm mates saw that the Long Island native had a knack for style and asked her to decorate their rooms. Twelve years ago, she ended up in her husband’s home town of Essex Fells, and she’s been eyeing the former Nature’s Corner spot almost ever since.

“My husband had lots of talks with Marsha,” she says, referring to Marsha Collins, the former owner of that store. The Criquis struck a deal to rent the space from Collins in February, and immediately went into high gear to renovate and pick the merchandise. “I filled my house with deliveries,” Criqui says with a laugh.

NellieBean4She also took some merchandise advice from her daughter, who lent her nickname, Bean, to the store’s name. Bean has helped stock one of the store’s rooms with things that tween girls will love, like a set of earrings packaged to look like French macaron cookies. Nellie & Bean Mercantile can package these and other things into gift boxes to be delivered to homesick campers all summer long.

There’s lots more to see, in the store, on the Nellie & Bean Web site and on its Facebook page. The store is open Monday to  Saturday 10 a.m. to  6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 3 p.m. Just look for the bright green signs on the avenue.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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