From time to time, The Scout will feature interborough food tours designed as culinary and geographic explorations of our fair city. Each has been field tested, in a single day,…Read More
Off of what you might call the main drag in Red Hook, Van Brunt Street, there are dozens of anonymous warehouses and garages. One of these, however, is not at all like the others. In fact, line up Saipua next to almost anything or anyone else and you might say that.
When this garage door opens it reveals a stage, or maybe a diorama, built from the reclaimed wood of a Michigan barn. Designed by Jeremy Barbour at Tacklebox, the Saipua “Flagship Store” (with tongue in cheek) opens directly onto the street with no wall, windows, or doors (until weather requires) and is literally a front for the workshop in the back, found through a labyrinth-esque corridor. The store is rich with surprises from one inset-box to the next, a knotty peephole, and a secret door. Soaps and sundry are found everywhere amidst thick arrangements of flora and foliage.
It is an anachronism and questions most retail assumptions, and that’s what we like about Saipua in general. Just as Saipua hand makes, cuts, and wraps soap, the store has been built by only Eric Famisan and Jeremy Barbour. Decorations and furniture populating the store, mostly from Brimfield Antique and Flea Markets, are all reflections of the Saipua aesthetic and spirit from another age. A small—really 3 people—family operation intent on producing the highest quality soaps and floral arrangements with utmost creative integrity. Where many would find a winning formula and mass-produce until the market and their wallets were bursting, Saipua seeks success measured by satisfying a restless creativity and the ever-vanishing goal of perfection.
And so it will be with this space. Next year may find it bathed in paint or hosting puppetry, who knows? It will be a surprise, and it will make everybody who sees it quite happy.
Saipua’s new shop opens officially Saturday, August 22.