In the past few days, we’ve been checking in with several different Orchard Street retailers for a story in next month’s print magazine. One store owner, Rachid Ouassil, of the home furnishings store, Sheherazade, filled us in on his decision to close the business at 121 Orchard St. after 14 years.
The shop, specializing in Middle Eastern and East Asian furniture and smaller pieces, established a retail foothold in the neighborhood to be close to the fabric stores, which were once frequently visited by interior designers. In the first several years, Ouassil said, he benefited from the location; high profile designers shopped for items at Sheherazade all the time. But as the fabric stores dwindled and internet commerce became more popular, his business fell off significantly. He made the decision to close because, “it’s not worth it anymore. It’s not profitable.” Ouassil said he started carrying more affordable items in recent years, but very few retail customers came in to the store; most were really just browsing. Sheherazade may resurface on the Upper West Side or in Chelsea, “some area with good traffic and where they love this aesthetic,” Ouassil said.
It’s a big space — more than 2,000 square feet on the main floor, and as you can see there’s a big “for rent” sign outside. The block, between Delancey and Rivington, is rapidly transforming. New restaurants such as Contra and Black Tree are located along this stretch, with the Russ & Daughters cafe on its way. Right next door is Extra Butter, a cutting edge sneaker store from Long Island. Two hotels — one nearing completion, the other stalled, are also neighbors.
Sheherazade will be open until the end of April. They’re having a big clearance sale.