shopping 10.5.04


We always have an original Gumby and Pokey watching us as we type, so when we found out about the newly launched Jellio, we knew we'd found kindred spirits.

Chief among them is Mario Marsicano (nicknamed "Jellio" in college), who has started this vintage toy and games business online (a storefront may follow). The idea is, according to Marsicano, "combining childhood fun with interior design. It's placing a few memories in your home…subtle indications of your sense of humor, and a great way to keep your memories close all throughout the day."

Mr. Marsicano has been a collector for many years. "In a lot of the apartments I've lived in, I've had an entire wall filled with carnival wheels. Or sets of vending machines, but filled with unique things like contemporary art buttons or mardi gras beads. It's a fun way to make your living space unique, and it acts as a definite conversation starter whenpeople come over because these are the things I remember from my childhood."

On Jellio, you'll find vintage carnival punks (pictured, $75-$200), a Booze-O-Meter that tests your hand-eye coordination when you're in your cups ($200), pinball backglasses, gumball machines ($150), wind-up toys ($50-$150), and a few original pieces such as tables that incorporate vintage toys into them.

To purchase, you make an appointment with Mr. Marsicano, who will show you the collection, weekends only, in his apartment/studio. Gen Xers may be puzzled by the merchandise, boomers will hit a nostalgia high.

From a plugged-in, retail-savvy reader:

Retail Misses:
Tip #1:
If you want to buy the $19.95 orchid plants at the new Home Depot bring along your own large shopping bag as they only have the large plastic ones that would destroy your stem and buds. I have explained this twice to their help on the floor but no one gets it. There are no boxes available either. I guess no one thought that we did not have the luxury of a cart to the trunk of our car with this Home Depot. You cannot even stand with an auto on 23rd street to load.

Tip #2:
I recently went to the Westfield Shoppingtown Garden State Plaza, in Paramus, N.J, to see the new retail concept by the folks that brought us Abercrombie, called Ruehl. As with their other concepts, it is very well designed. It resembles a small, brick, downtown urban building on the outside…no name or number for id. Inside it is the look of a homey, sophisticated apartment. The lighting is much too dark: you can not tell the difference between colors, especially navy or black. Also the different levels with steps are a real problem in the dark! My biggest peeve: at least 20 "pretty young things" said "hello, how are you" but no one asked to help me or were even accommodating to questions. Just little robots to say "hello, how are you?" Do I really care or do they "how am I"….the corporate welcome strategy is overdone.

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